General Criminal Law

Q: If I am stopped for a motor vehicle offense do the police have the right to search my car?

A.: The police will only have a right to search your car if there is probable cause to believe that your car contains evidence of criminal activity. If the police do not have probable cause, they may ask for a consent to search but they can only do so if they have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Additionally, you have the right to refuse consent.

Q: Is it possible to avoid the mandatory forfeiture of driving privilege that results from a drug offense conviction?

A: The answer is yes. To avoid the forfeiture the convicted individual must convince the sentencing judge, usually with persuasive documentary evidence, that there are compelling circumstances and extreme hardship, with no alternate means of transportation.


Q: If a person is arrested for DWI/DUI is it better for him or her to refuse the ALCOTEST?

A: The answer is definitely no. Refusal to submit to an ALCOTEST carries the same stringent penalty as the highest level of DWI/DUI offense, so it makes no sense to refuse.

Q: If a person’s driving privileges are suspended for DWI/DUI, can he or she obtain a conditional license for work or school?

A: No. Unlike some other states, New Jersey does not have such conditional licenses.

Q: If the person’s driving privileges are suspended for a DWI/DUI conviction, can he or she drive in an emergency?

A: No. Driving for any reason after a DWI/DUI conviction results in an additional license suspension of up to two (2) years, a fine of $500.00 and mandatory jail for a period of sixty (60) to ninety (90) days.

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