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Legislation: Dash cams for all New Jersey law enforcement vehicles

Drunk driving charges can have serious consequences for those arrested and charged.
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    December 20, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- There are several consequences that are associated with a conviction of drunk driving in Bergen-Passaic. These consequences could include jail time, driver's license suspension, fines, community service and probation. When someone is accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol, it is important for them to make sure that law enforcement has not violated their constitutional rights in some way.

Probable cause

One of those constitutional rights is probable cause which, according to Law Officer, means that an officer must have a reason before a person can be arrested or subjected to interrogation or a search. This is explained in the Fourth Amendment, which specifies that someone cannot be stopped just because an officer has a suspicion. An officer can only take action if there is information or action that would indicate to anyone that the person may be connected to a criminal act in some way.

When it comes to drivers in a vehicle, they or their car must be violating the law in some way. Violations can include:
- A taillight that isn't working.
- A flat tire.
- Speeding.
- Driving erratically.
- Failing to stop for a light or sign.
- Reckless driving.

After the driver is pulled over, an officer may ask them if he or she has been drinking upon observing that the person is exhibiting signs of intoxication. If the driver fails field sobriety tests or a breath test, it is likely the person will be arrested and charged with a DWI. In such cases, it is often the officer's word against the driver's word unless there is additional evidence.

Trooper accused of faking probable cause

Just last year a Utah trooper was fired after allegations surfaced that she had used fraud to stop people and arrest them for drunk driving. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the trooper is suspected of violating drivers' civil rights and her dash camera seemed to have been having technical difficulties while she was making several of those stops. So far two people have filed lawsuits against her for false arrest.

One argument made is that the trooper did not even turn on her video until after she pulled the driver over, preventing anyone from knowing whether there was a legitimate reason to stop the driver. The Huffington Post reports that up to 1,500 people could have been a victim of the trooper's actions.

Dash board camera legislation

Here in New Jersey, dash board cameras are not used on every law enforcement vehicle according to Land Line magazine. However, that could soon change if new legislation is approved and passed into law by legislators. The bill would require that all vehicles used by law enforcement agencies be equipped with a dash camera.

Fortunately for the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, a dash camera proved that his DUI arrest and charge were falsely made. He says the bill would provide an extra protection for the rights of New Jersey residents. The bill recently received approval from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

When someone is accused of driving while intoxicated, they have the right to question the allegations made. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

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