NJ holds that odor plus admission of alcohol justify field sobriety detention

12-22-11. Today  The NJ appellate division decided what most of us have assumed de facto for a long time, namely that it doesn’t take much to justify administration of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Here the defendant had tinted windows and a loud exhaust justifying the stop, but no driving conduct that was indicative of DWI. Then the officer smelled alcohol on defendant (and when don’t they) and the defendant admitted having one beer. That the App Div said today is enough reasonable suspicion to administer the roadside testing.  Although the instruction is much like an arrest because the def is not free to go, the Court found that the instruction was more limited than a full arrest and applied the Terry stop and frisk standard of reasonable suspicion to the case.

Jeff Gold