If you or a loved one made the mistake of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink, it is important to know your legal rights. Each state’s laws vary, so you should consult a local criminal defense lawyer immediately after an arrest. While every situation is different, this article looks at some steps to take if you have been arrested for a DWI in the state of New Jersey:
Step 1: Follow Directions
Police must follow certain procedure in order to conduct an arrest and process a defendant before his or her arraignment. This means that officers will often bark orders at a handcuffed driver in the minutes following an arrest. If you find yourself in this situation, follow directions and do not talk back. Verbal or physical abuse of the police can land you in prison for extended period of time.
Step 2: Do Not Admit to Anything
A police officer may ask you why you think you were pulled over or how many drinks you’ve consumed that evening. You are not obligated to answer those questions. The police have a right to test your blood alcohol level, but you do not have to provide them any information about your previous whereabouts or drinking habits. Any and all words you say to the police can and will be used against you at trial. Thus, it is in your best interest to invoke your right to remain silent as early as possible.
Step 3: Call an Attorney
Once you are taken down to the police station to be fingerprinted and photographed, you will be granted a phone call. You should use this opportunity to call a criminal defense attorney or speak to a loved one who will be able to hire counsel on your behalf. Ideally, you would want to obtain a lawyer before your arraignment, so that you and your attorney can formulate a defense strategy before placing a plea on the record.
The consequences of a New Jersey DWI can be serious. If need help following an arrest, call the Bergen County law office of Walter K. Schreyer by dialing (201) 383-4256. We have more than 35 years of experience with state, county, and city criminal and DUI/DWI cases.