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Drunk Driving: The Driver’s Rights Before, During and After a DUI/DWI Arrest

As a United States citizen and a driver in the State of New Jersey, you have important rights when the police pull you over. Knowing your rights can help you make smart decisions on the side of the road; or if it is too late for that, understanding whether your rights have been violated will be critical to building the strongest possible defense for your DUI/DWI trial.

Your Rights as a Driver in New Jersey

1. You Have the Right to Be Free from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.

Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you have the right not to be stopped without reasonable suspicion, and the police cannot arrest you without probable cause. The police must have a specific reason for pulling you over (i.e. you were speeding or drifting onto the shoulder), and they cannot place you under arrest you unless the evidence suggests that you are guilty of DUI/DWI.

The Fourth Amendment also entitles you not to consent to a search of your vehicle. If the arresting officer searches your vehicle without your consent (and without a warrant), any evidence obtained may be inadmissible in your DUI/DWI case.

2. You Have the Right to Remain Silent.

When you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer who stops you will ask you lots of questions: How much have you had to drink? Where were you drinking? Do you have any alcohol in the vehicle?

You do not have to answer these questions, and you should not do so. You have the right to remain silent, and you need to resist the officer’s attempts to get you to say things that can be used against you.

3. You Have the Right to an Attorney.

From the moment you are pulled over, you have the right to legal representation. This means that you can refuse to speak with the officer or take any field sobriety tests (FSTs) without your attorney present.

4. You Have the Right to a Clear Explanation of FST Procedures.

If you consent to taking the FSTs, you are entitled to a clear explanation of the testing procedures. If the arresting officer does not accurately explain how you are supposed to perform the tests, your test results may be deemed inadmissible at trial.

5. You Have the Right to Leave if You are Not Under Arrest.

If you are not being arrested, you have the right to move on with your day. The police cannot detain you if they do not have probable cause to make an arrest.

These are not all of your rights, but they are some of the most important. For more information, contact our firm now for a free consultation.

You Do Not Have the Right to Refuse the Alcotest

Importantly, in New Jersey, one right you do not have is the right to refuse the Alcotest. Under the state’s implied consent law, you can face additional charges and penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test of your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Call Now to Speak with a New Jersey DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer

If you are facing drunk driving charges in New Jersey, contact the defense team at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation. To speak with one of our experienced DUI/DWI defense attorneys, call 1-877-435-6371 or get in touch online now.

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