January 24, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- In the last couple of years, allegations have surfaced, accusing law enforcement officers of falsifying drunk driving stops and arrests. This clearly violates one of the most important constitutional rights that people in Newark and elsewhere have - protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Falsified DUI charges
One story that received national attention was a female trooper in Utah who has been accused of making false drunk driving
arrests. According to The Huffington Post, the trooper was fired after multiple complaints against her surfaced and a prosecutor refused to handle cases based on her testimony alone. One of her alleged victims passed three breath tests with flying colors after being stopped for wearing a Halloween costume and arrested for drinking and driving.
Last year in Chicago, the city was ordered to pay a victim of a falsified DUI charge $100,000. The Chicago Tribune reported that the victim was just coming out of a police station when he was arrested by an officer for DUI. The officer, who resigned, is the subject of several other complaints from residents, claiming that he falsified DUI arrests in dozens of instances.
An officer in Washington Township was suspended after it was revealed he falsified the DUI arrest of New Jersey assemblyman, Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester/Camden. According to Land Line, the assemblyman was arrested but the charges were dropped after a dash camera in the officer's vehicle showed that the officer's statements were untrue. Now Moriarty has introduced a new bill that will require vehicles used for traffic stops to be equipped with a dashboard camera.
In November of this year, the bill was approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. If passed, it will add an additional protection for the rights of New Jersey residents.
Dashboard cameras are used for the protection of the public and their rights relating to search and seizure. Law Officer states that, according to the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement must have reasonable belief that a person is breaking the law. This is referred to as probable cause
. In the case of a traffic stop, an officer has the right to halt the vehicle if:
- The driver is swerving on the road.
- The driver runs a stop sign.
- The driver is speeding.
- The driver is operating the vehicle in a reckless manner - weaving in and out of traffic or driving slower than other vehicles.
- The officer observed the driver consuming alcohol before getting into the vehicle.
- The driver is in violation of a state law such as having a broken taillight, missing a headlight or texting.
There are other reasons that an officer may pull someone over. For example, if a vehicle has a muffler dragging on the surface and causing sparks, then there is reasonable concern for the safety of others and the officer will likely stop the driver to alert them of the problem. When a person is stopped and arrested for DUI, they should discuss their case with an experienced attorney who can conduct an investigation to determine whether there was a legitimate reason for the person to be pulled over.
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