6 Steps if stopped for Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania or New Jersey
A DUI/DWI (Title 75, Section 3802; 39:4-50) is a crime anyone can commit. Many people do not know what to do when you get pulled over for DUI, DWI or impaired driving charge. However, by following these steps, you can protect yourself and your rights. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced NJ & PA impaired driving defense attorney.
STEP 1 – Pull over in a calm, normal manner.
When pulling over remember to use your turn signal, pull over immediately, and come to a complete stop. Please bear in mind that when you’re pulled over for DUI or DWI everything about the stop is being recorded. This includes any erratic driving behaviors once the cop is behind you.
STEP 2 – Be polite, courteous and respectful at all times.
The dialogue between you and the officer is most likely being recorded.This includes audio as well as video recordings. You don’t give anyone that watches the video down the road any reason to believe you were being rude, unreasonable, or drunk. Always address the officer as “sir or ma’am” and do not, at any point, become combative with the officer.
STEP 3 – Do not admit to drinking.
After pulling over, you must provide the police officer with your name, driver’s license, registration, and car insurance details, however, you do not have to answer any incriminating questions they ask you. For example, “how much have you had to drink tonight?” You do NOT have to answer this question. In fact, it is in your best interest to remain silent and avoid saying anything. Again, the conversation is being recorded, so any admission that you were drinking can and will be used against you in court.
NOTE: the biggest problem with admitting to drinking is how non-specific it is. The officer will ask you to admit to how much you’ve had to drink, but will not ask follow-up questions like: “what kind of alcohol, what size drinks, when did you consume alcohol, did you eat anything?” It is legal to drink and then drive in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. What is illegal is drinking and then driving impaired. So, if you do admit to drinking, make sure to explain what kind of alcohol, when you drank it, over what course of time you drank it, and whether you had anything to eat with it.
STEP 4 – Do not submit to any field sobriety tests.
Police can ask you to step out of your vehicle, however, they cannot force you to perform field sobriety tests. These tests are completely voluntary. When an officer asks you to step out of your vehicle you need to comply (but do not use your door or vehicle for balance when exiting). Once out of your vehicle, respectfully refuse to perform all field sobriety tests. Simply explain: “my lawyer told me to NEVER submit to these tests.”
NOTE: never perform field sobriety tests, because they are very difficult and very specific balancing tests. If you have poor balance, you will definitely fail these tests. This is regardless of how much alcohol consumed. Even if you have great balance, you will still fail these tests, because of how difficult and specific they are. Medical conditions such as diabetes, low blood sugar and neurological disorders can make it almost impossible to pass these tests even if completely sober.
STEP 5 – Do not submit to taking a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine).
When pulled over for DUI or DWI, politely decline when the officer asks you to take a breath, blood, or urine test, if you have been drinking. Why? For many reasons: 1. Breath tests produce unreliable results all the time for many different reasons. 2. The officer is going to arrest you for DUI/DWI regardless of if you take a chemical test. This is true if even if you blow under the legal BAC limit of .08%.
After you refuse to take the chemical test, you will be subjected to a mandatory minimum drivers license suspension for refusing to take the test, BUT, you will have to serve minimum court-ordered suspension, anyways, if you are ultimately convicted of DUI or DWI. So there is little to no incentive to take a chemical test.
Please note that, if you do take a breath, blood, or urine test and the results come back above the legal limit, it does not mean you are guilty of DUI or DWI. There are still many defenses that can be raised.
STEP 6 – Do not make any statement after being arrested, especially when placed in the police cruiser.
Many cop cars have microphones and or cameras in the front and back seat of the vehicle. Again, everything you say in the cruiser is being recorded via audio and video.
Remember, you have the right to call an attorney at any point in the above interaction.
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