DWI MV Stop NOT Objectively Reasonable – State v. Puzio

This morning’s Appellate Division decision in State v. Puzio involves a police officer who honestly believed that a vehicle he had been following was in violation of the commercial plates motor vehicle statute. The officer, in good faith, stopped the vehicle and arrested the operator for drunk driving.

Despite his good faith belief and intentions, the Appellate Division held that the officer’s interpretation of the statute was wrong as a matter of law and accordingly there was no objectively reasonable basis for stopping the defendant’s vehicle. The panel also re-affirmed New Jersey’s commitment to NOT entertaining a “good-faith” exception to the warrant requirement.

Please contrast this decision with the July 22, 2005 opinion in State v. Pitcher where the Appellate Division rejected a similar defense argument where the police officer relied upon incorrect DMV data in effecting a motor vehicle stop.

Download a copy of State v. Puzio

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