10 Things To Do If Pulled Over For Drunk Driving
I am Anthony N. Palumbo, a New Jersey criminal defense attorney with more than 35 years of experience defending people charged with DWI/DUI. When facing such serious charges, you will want a lawyer who has acquired the knowledge, strategies, skillful negotiation tactics and a reputation in the local courts to fight for your rights. I provide the best possible defenses for my clients in Elizabeth, Rahway, Kenilworth, Union, Linden, Roselle and the surrounding areas of New Jersey.
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Every year, tens of thousands of people are stopped by the police and questioned about whether they might be under the influence of alcohol. Police automatically inquire about alcohol whenever they pull somebody over late at night. The purpose of this article is to tell you what to do if you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving.
- Use your turn signal and slowly and carefully pull over to the side of the road.
- Stay in the car, keep your hands on the wheel and calmly wait for the police officer to approach your motor vehicle. Do not attempt to leave your car, and do not shuffle around in the glove compartment looking for credentials.
- Act politely toward the police. Do not act as though you have anything to hide or that you have done anything wrong. Give a courteous greeting when you open the window to speak to the police and follow their directions.
- When you are asked, produce your driver’s license, registration and insurance card. Stay calm and remember that the police are watching to see how you perform the maneuvers involved in getting these credentials.
- You have the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment, which means you have the right to refrain from answering any and all questions that the police officer asks you. If the police officer asks you if you have been drinking or if you had anything to drink, or asks if you think you are drunk or not, simply tell the police officer that you are claiming your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself. Do not discuss where you were, what you did, who you were with or whether you were drinking at all.
- If the police officer asks you whether you will take a chemical test, which is a device used to determine your blood alcohol contents, be advised that in New Jersey you do not have the right to refuse a chemical test. If you refuse to take the test and this is a first offense, your license will be automatically suspended until you install an ignition interlock device for nine to 15 months. Do not refuse to take the test.
- Do not believe that by being candid with the police officer and telling him that you had one or two beers are going to be of help to you. Most people say they had “a few beers.” Police officers hardly ever believe that. When you are asked anything about drinking, politely decline to answer any questions concerning drinking or where you were or who you were with. Do not argue with the police officer, but instead comply with whatever he says.
- Do not get out of your car unless you are asked to. Make sure that you don’t stumble or trip when you get out.
- Refuse to take any field sobriety tests; you are not required to complete any of these tests. The tests I am referring to are the ones where they ask you to walk heel to toe or put your finger to your nose, or close your eyes and put your head back. These tests are not designated to help you and you can refuse to take them. You can fail these tests even if you are not under the influence of alcohol because of the time of day, poor balance, a medical condition or poor vision. Do not take the test. Always politely decline to take the test.
- If you have been arrested for a DWI/DUI, it is very important to choose a lawyer who is competent and aggressive with skill and experience. I, Anthony N. Palumbo, have over 35 years of trial experience and have handled hundreds of DUI cases. Contact me to protect your rights and freedom.
The penalties for a DUI/DWI are steep, potentially involving the installation of an ignition interlock device, fines, jail time, license suspension and more. For further information or to discuss a recent arrest, contact me, a Union County DWI lawyer, by sending an email or calling 908-643-6801.