What to Expect If You Get Arrested for Drunk Driving
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Tue Nov 2021
No one expects to get pulled over and charged with drunk driving. However, if you are a social drinker, you might find yourself in this situation. An experienced New Jersey drunk driving attorney can break down the specific details of your case and come up with a defensive strategy to fight the charges. Since all driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases have some common elements, it may be in your best interest to familiarize yourself with the process.
Getting Pulled Over by the Cops
The police must have probable cause to legally stop you for drunk driving. They can also legally stop you at an authorized DWI checkpoint. Some legal reasons you can be pulled over include:
- Traffic violation, such a running a red lights or speeding
- Engaging in a driving pattern consistent with drunk driving
- Getting into an accident
- Based on a tip from someone else
Physical Observation Period
Once you have been pulled over, the police will have an opportunity to observe you and document any signs of alcohol consumption. Some common signs law enforcement will look for during their observation period include:
- Inability to balance
- Talking with slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- Smelling like alcohol
- Lack of fine motor skills
You should assume that the law enforcement officer who has pulled you over will be videotaping you during their observation to determine whether you are under the influence. This recorded evidence can, and most likely will be, used against you during your DUI court hearing.
Voluntary Field Sobriety Test
The police may also request that you undergo a field sobriety test to test your dexterity, balance, and your ability to follow certain types of instructions. The three most common types of field sobriety tests include:
- The one-leg stand
- The walk-and-turn
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – this includes having to follow objects with your eyes, such the officer’s fingers or a pen
Implied Consent Warning a Breathalyzer Test
In some states, like New Jersey, you automatically agree to a breathalyzer test when pulled over on the submission of drunk driving as a condition of getting your driver’s license. This is called implied consent law. You can be arrested if you do not agree to take a breath test if you have been pulled over on suspicion of DWI.
After the Arrest
If the police believe they have enough evidence, they will arrest you on drunk driving charges. Once you have been released from jail – either by posting bail or being released on your own recognizance – you should immediately to contact an experienced New Jersey drunk driving attorney. You should also get your car out of impound because you will accrue daily impound fees which can quickly add up.
Call a DWI Attorney in New Jersey
If you or someone you know has been issued a DWI citation or arrested for drunk driving in New Jersey, an experienced attorney can help. Call Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC at 908-355-7100 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation with our legal team today.