New Jersey police officers should be allowed to stop motorists if someone close to them provides a tip the driver is drunk, even if they haven’t seen any erratic behavior, prosecutors contend. Defense attorneys say that goes too far and allows people to be pulled over simply on a hunch or to satisfy a vendetta if there isn’t more information about the driver’s behavior, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. Those were the two sides of an argument before the New Jersey Supreme Court yesterday in a case that could set a new course for drunken-driving prosecutions in the Garden State.
The justices are being asked to decide what circumstances police need to consider when they stop a driver based on a phone tip. In the past, anonymous callers have been given more credence than someone involved with the motorist. The case before the court involves a call from a 17-year-old girl to Clifton police that her father, Paul Amelio, was driving drunk. The two had an argument immediately before Amelio left home. Police stopped him and arrested him for driving while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty, but two courts said that could not stand.