DWI Road blocks/Warning Signs – State v. Badessa

Yesterday’s Appellate Division decision in State v. Badessa will change certain police procedures in future New Jersey road block cases. In Badessa, the Atlantic City police established a late night dwi interdiction road block. The defendant, who was initially approaching the road block, made a legal turn on an intersecting street a block or so away and thus would have avoided the police. The police saw this action and stopped his vehicle. The defendant was promptly arrested for drunk driving. At trial he was acquitted of the dwi charge but found guilty of a companion refusal charge.

The Appellate Division ruled that when a dwi check point zone encompasses intersecting streets, the police must provide proper on-scene warnings that include a “no turns” sign. In this way, a driver will have sufficient notice of the dwi check point and that avoidance of it will result in pursuit by a chase vehicle.

Too bad that this defendant did not take a breath test. Although the Court found that the motor vehicle stop in this case was unreasonable, the panel also ruled that the refusal charge had been so attenuated from the taint of the illegal traffic stop that the refusal evidence need not be suppressed.

Download a copy of State v. Badessa

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