Few things spark more fear in a motorist than seeing the flashing lights of a police cruiser in the rearview mirror, even if you haven’t been drinking, let alone if you’ve had one or two drinks.
The best defense against DWI is not to drink and drive. However, the level of charges and a defense strategy often depends upon your actions immediately after being stopped.
Five things to remember during a traffic stop
A first-offense DWI in New Jersey can result in hundreds of dollars in fines and fees, up to 30 days in jail, and other potentially devastating personal and financial consequences. If you are stopped, it’s essential to take these steps:
- Pull off to the side of the road as quickly and safely as possible, turn off the ignition and put your hands on the wheel as the officer approaches.
- Be polite to the officer as arguing or being confrontational can result in additional charges.
- Comply with the officer’s commands, but never answer any questions, such as where you’ve been, who was there or if you’ve been drinking.
- Remember, even if you’ve had only one drink, being honest with the officer isn’t a good idea as they likely won’t believe you anyway.
- If arrested after taking a Breathalyzer, stay calm and immediately ask to speak with an attorney before exercising your right to remain silent.
Why is it essential to talk to a lawyer?
Experienced DWI defense lawyers understand the many strategies available in DWI arrests. Breath tests are often thrown out in court due to flaws in the devices or officer errors. Refusing to take a Breathalyzer can result in your license being suspended regardless of whether you are found guilty of DWI.
Making your first call to a lawyer is vital because attorney-client discussions are privileged. However, if you call a relative or friend from jail, law enforcement can and will monitor these conversations. Taking all of these steps can help potentially having charges dropped or penalties reduced.