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Picture this; you are driving down the road after spending the night at a friend’s house. You had one or two beers while you were there but you are far from being intoxicated. As you are driving you see a police car driving behind you. You continue to drive as normal because you feel the cop has no reason to pull you over. But then the officer’s lights come on and he pulls you over. What should you do in this case, and more importantly, what is the right thing to do?Whenever you are being pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, you will have four major opportunities to exercise your rights.
- Do you know why I pulled you over tonight? Your best bet here is not to answer with no, but instead to answer the question without answering it. Maybe say something to the effect of why do you ask, or I’m not really sure. You don’t want to lie, in case your case goes to trial. You can always say “I respectfully won’t answer your question but you can speak to my attorney.” That usually stops the problematic questions. If you have ever watched a cop drama show you have heard someone say, you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and may be used against you in a court of law. What people don”t know is you always have these rights; you don’t only get them once you have been arrested.
- “Have you had anything to drink tonight?” Here you have three options: yes, no, and I have no statement. If you say yes, you will likley be facing a battery of tests and then an arrest. If you say no, and are lying, and had something to drink, this could hurt you in court. Your last option is the best, saying, I have no statement. This sentence is neither an admission nor a lie. It is simply an answer to the question that does not incriminate you.
- “I want you to step out of the car and we will do some tests.” What the officer forgets to tell you is that you CAN say no. You are not obligated to do any field sobriety tests. For most people, these tests result in your arrest. If you have had anything significant to drink, taking these tests will only result in giving the police proof of your intoxication. If you have had nothing to drink, the tests can still result in your arrest. The tests fail more than 30% of the time.
- “Any other question, other than license, registration, or insurance.” Think back to the Miranda rights I mentioned earlier, you have the right to remain silent. USE IT, because it is surprisingly easy to incriminate yourself when answering these questions. After all, that is the point of those questions, to gather evidence to incriminate you.
If you are arrested, you will be asked to give a breath sample. If you refuse, you will be charged with a seperate offense, refusal to give a breath sample (NJS 39:4-50.2) Your refusal will usually carry some very strict consequences. It is usually in your best interests to give the sample.
Free Resources for you
If you are charged with a DUI you need to know your options before going to court. On this page you will see an offer for my books, click the link, put your name and contact information and we will give you these books free:
- Arrested for Drunk Driving? Learn how to Beat the Odds – Here I discuss defense strategies, and common mistakes I see other attorneys make in defending these complicated cases. I also list for your question you should ask any attorney that you interview for your defense.
- Why Pleading Guilty to Your New Jersey Traffic Ticket is NOT an Option – Here I discuss court process and violations, including DUI’s. There lots of case examples here.
- An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court. This discusses specifically what you will encounter in Municipal Court if you aren’t a U.S. citizen and how it can result in removal proceedings in Immigration Court. I define important terms and guide you through the Municipal Court and Immigration Court process.
If you have DUI or Traffic offenses questions, we have answers. You can,
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