Driving While Intoxicated Charge Dismissed
Recently James Wronko’s client’s “Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI) charge was dismissed by the Parsippany Municipal Court as the police officer was not justified in stopping our client’s motor vehicle.
The seminal case in this area is a New Jersey Supreme Court opinion in State v. Gollota 178 N.J. 205 (2003). In that case, a citizen informant called the police and reported a person driving a blue pickup truck in an erratic manner. Police dispatch notified an officer who came in contact with the blue pickup truck and quickly stopped the truck without observing any erratic driving movements.
The N.J. Supreme Court held that callers must provide a sufficient quantity of information, such as the make and model of the vehicle, its license plate number, its location and bearing, and similar innocent details, so that the officer, and the court, may be certain that the vehicle stopped is the same as the one identified by the caller.
The Court further emphasized that the tip must also contain a sufficient quantity of information to support an inference that the tipster had witnessed an actual traffic violation that compels an immediate stop.
In our case, police officers were dispatched to the area of Parsippany Road and Allentown Road in Parsippany Township for a report of a possible drunk driver.
After reviewing a brief authored by Kevin Hewitt, Jr. and hearing testimony from the officers and a civilian witness who were cross examined by Mr. Wronko, the Court ruled that the caller in this case did not provide enough details for the officer to have a reasonable suspicion to pull over our client’s vehicle and dismissed the Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge.