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Is there a progression of inquiry during a drunk driving stop?

Authorities that pull over an individual on suspicion of drunk driving typically follow a natural progression. Simple questioning of a driver might escalate into a field sobriety test. Additional chemical testing, such as a Breathalzyer or blood sample, may also be requested. Depending on the circumstances, there might be consequences to refusing to comply with an officer’s instructions or request for a breath or blood test.

Our law practice has helped many individuals arrested for driving under the influence. We advise individuals pulled over on suspicion of DUI to comply with the instructions they receive from police. Failing to cooperate could otherwise implicate serious penalties. However, after an individual has been arrested, it is important to utilize one’s right to an attorney. After being read one’s rights, an accused generally does not have to make further admissions outside of the presence of his or her legal counsel. 

Unfortunately, one alleged drunk driver’s recent brush with authorities proved to be incriminating even before her arrest. The 31-year-old woman reportedly stopped her vehicle close to the Holland Tunnel and got out of her car. When an officer approached and questioned the woman, she repeatedly stated she was looking for New Jersey, apparently not realizing she was already in Jersey City.

However, there was more to this arrest than geographic confusion. The officer also described the woman’s eyes as red and watery, prompting a Breathalyzer test that indicated a blood alcohol content of .25, which is over three times the legal limit of .08. Although that test result may be incriminating, it does not mean that the woman cannot mount a strong DUI defense. For example, perhaps the officer was unduly influenced by the woman’s comments and gave short shrift to normal procedures. These are some of the areas our law firm would examine in preparing a DUI defense strategy.

Source: USA Today, “Driver didn't realize she was in New Jersey, police say,” Matthew Diebel, Dec. 8, 2015

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