New Jersey DWI Defense Update: What Every Driver Should Know About Drunk Driving Arrests — Part One

Being drunk on the road is always a risky scenario. But as a New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer and former municipal prosecuting attorney, I know that many Motorists get caught up in DWI arrests unexpectedly. Understanding that being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol is just the start of a long process is fine, but knowing that being convicted of driving while intoxicated is something you should avoid if at all possible.

The following may help some motorists in the Garden State avoid the pitfalls and legal troubles of being arrested, charged and convicted of drunken driving. Of course, the entire process starts with being pulled over for impaired driving in the first place. Whether you are eventually charged with DWI, drug DUI, breath test refusal, or other drunk driving violation, a traffic stop comes first.

Some people wonder is under what circumstances a patrolman can pull them over for driving drunk. While the officer in charge may not initially be aware of your alcohol consumption or prescription drug use, he can stop you for any number of reasons associate with violations of traffic law.

For instance, the policeman may actually see you running through a traffic light or even make a lane change without signaling. It’s well known that certain vehicle maneuvers are signatures of a driver operating under the influence of beer, wine, hard liquor or prescription drugs. These suspicious driving patterns include drifting across the center line, weaving into and out of traffic lanes, driving well below the speed limit, or slowing and speeding up for no apparently legitimate reason.

Whenever a patrolman observes these and other so-called erratic driving behaviors, he may decide to make a completely legal traffic stop to observe you and your vehicle more closely.

Once a law enforcement officer has you stopped by the roadside, he or she will likely ask several questions. Whether you must answer these queries depends on the actual information be requested. You do not have to answer all questions put to you by an officer, but some you are legally required to answer, such as your name, age and whether you have a valid driver’s license.

It is important to remember that police officers do not have to read you your Miranda rights until after an arrest has been made. Up until that point, the officer will probably attempt to illicit an incriminating statement from you, such as an admission that you were just coming back from a party or that you had been drinking. Gathering this type of information will help the municipal prosecutor to prove the DWI charges against you in a court of law and likely secure a conviction for drunken driving.