Humans are intelligent creatures. Even those with limited education tend to learn a lot just from life lessons -- burn your hand on a stove and you won't likely touch a hot stove again.
When it comes to matters of the law in New Jersey, though, most people are at a disadvantage. Indeed, in most cases the tenet that you don't know what you don't know applies. Many people don't know the fundamentals for protecting individual rights. That's why so many committed attorneys offer free consultations.
Certain basic things are important to know, especially considering how often police now use simple traffic stops to investigate suspected drunk driving.
For example, every licensed driver is probably aware that the legal limit for being guilty of drunk driving is .08 percent blood alcohol content. But do you know how easy it is to hit that mark, or that those limits are lower if you are a minor? Also, impairment can be alleged if evidence of drugs is present in a blood or urine test - even prescription drugs.
Police DUI detection methods
It's also good to know the various ways police use to determine if a driver is under the influence. The three most common methods are:
- Observation. If an officer sees a person driving erratically it could prompt a traffic stop. However, such claims could be made up. Would you know how to challenge a claim like that?
- Field sobriety tests. Police confirm their DUI suspicions using a number of tests that are generally accepted by courts. These might include having a subject walk a straight line, do a one-legged stand or some sort of speech test. Not all such tests are trustworthy and interpretation can be subjective.
- Blood or urine testing.These steps tend to follow the first two. Because they are based in science, they may carry a lot of weight in court. However, challenges may be possible depending on the circumstances of a given case.
What defines custody can be an issue, too. If you feel you are not free to leave a stop situation, it might be best to consider yourself in custody. In such situations, remember that you can exercise your right to remain silent, even if police don't say so.