Motor vehicle stops happen to be the number one way that Americans come into contact with police. New Jersey drivers will shortly be given more information about all of their responsibilities, rights and liberties during traffic stops.
Under a new law (A3871) signed by Governor Murphy, the New Jersey MVC is now required to make a video that explains the rights and responsibilities for drivers when they are pulled over in New Jersey. This video about your rights when you are pulled over by police will be mandatory in the curriculum for drivers’ education and license testing.
It is imperative that NJ drivers are aware of their rights when pulled over by the police. Knowing your rights when stopped by police can be just as essential as understanding traffic signs and traffic laws. What’s the point of learning the rules of the rode if you don’t know your rights when you’re on the road?
The new law signed by the NJ Governor gives drivers the information and skills to interact with law enforcement during encounters. Its goal is to create safer scenarios for both drivers and police officers during traffic stops.
What exactly are my rights when pulled over in NJ?
New Jersey drivers are guaranteed rights under both federal and state law. The most important right is to be free from illegal, unlawful and unreasonable searches and seizures by police. Just as important is the absolute right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself when questioned by law enforcement.
There are other important guidelines when pulled over:
- Keep your cool. This means to stay calm, cool, collected, composed and peaceful. Remember to be careful about what you say because it can always be used against you.
- Never touch an officer. Do not physically put your hands on any officer because any unwanted touching can be considered an assault. It can also escalate the situation unnecessarily.
- Never resist. Even if you think you did nothing wrong, or the officers are being unreasonable. Again, this can escalate the situation and lead to additional charges.
- You have the right to refuse consent. The police cannot charge you if you fail to give them permission to search your car. It is perfectly lawful to tell the police they cannot search your car.
- You must provide breath samples during a DWI investigation. Even if you are not drunk, you must comply with the Alcotest (breathalyzer). If you refuse, you can be issued a separate summons for refusal, even if you were not drinking or intoxicated.
- A driver that is pulled over is required to produce a valid driver’s license, insurance and registration for the vehicle.
- Police can request the driver to step out of the vehicle. Officers cannot order a passenger out of a car unless there are certain safety issues.
Can you record the police in New Jersey?
As long as you have not been arrested, you absolutely are allowed to video the police and to take photographs. You can take pictures and videos as long as you are in public and not impeding any investigation. In other words, if you have the right to be at a location, you have the right to video and photograph.
Contact Howard P. Lesnik, Esq. Immediately
If you have any questions about a traffic stop in New Jersey or if you received a traffic ticket, contact my office right away. I am a New Jersey criminal trial attorney board certified by the NJ Supreme Court. New Jersey’s municipal laws are extremely complex. Anyone who is charged with any offense in municipal court case needs to have an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are a family member were issued a criminal summons or traffic ticket in New Jersey, contact me immediately so I can review your case and the evidence against you and advise you as to all possible defenses to make sure that you are properly represented. In many cases and circumstances a successful defense can lead to a downgrade or even the dismissal of the charges against you. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.