If you have been arrested under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated in New Jersey, otherwise known as a DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then there are a variety of things that you will need to know in order to proceed with the best chances of a positive outcome.
Primarily, the most important thing that you need to know is that hiring a New Jersey DWI lawyer is essential to your situation.
DWI law in New Jersey is complicated and overwhelming, and if you do not have specific legal knowledge about these processes, attempting to navigate the New Jersey courts can have very negative outcomes. You can read more about finding a good attorney in order to learn about how they can help.
The following information is meant to give you a brief overview of what is otherwise a very complicated process that you will need to go through.
There are many different possible agreements and outcomes that you and your attorney will be able to work towards, and an experienced lawyer can review your case and identify the possible outcomes in order to determine the best way forward.
However, the following information can give you some valuable insight into what to expect after your DWI arrest in New Jersey.
You Are Not Obligated to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests
When a police officer in New Jersey suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, they will likely request that the driver submits to a battery of tests known as field sobriety tests. These tests are intended to give the officer a better idea of whether or not the driver is in control of their mental and physical faculties, but the tests are deeply flawed.
Since there is no truly objective way to pass or fail one of these exams, it is highly subjective to the officer’s own interpretation of the situation, and likely do not account for things like stress, anxiety, roadside conditions, and more. Therefore, you are under no obligation to submit to these exams, although a refusal will definitely be revisited in court.
You Are Obligated to Submit to a Blood Alcohol Test
While you are not legally obliged to submit to a field sobriety test, you agree to something known as “implied consent” when you are issued your driver license by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. By carrying a driver’s license, you agree to submit to any breath test that a police officer requests during a traffic stop, and a refusal to do so results in an automatic license suspension of 7 months for your first refusal, as well as a fine. Additionally, refusing your breath test will not help you avoid an arrest, meaning you will ultimately end up submitting to one after a warrant is approved by a judge.
However, implied consent does not apply to blood or urine tests, meaning that you do not need to submit to one of these tests during a traffic stop and deal with the same repercussions.
You Don’t Need to Answer Any Questions
During a traffic stop or arrest, you are under no obligation to answer any questions that an officer asks. While it is very important to remain respectful during your arrest as a way to avoid complications, you have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Waiting until you have proper legal representation is a good idea, since anything that you say during your arrest will be used during your court case.