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Criminal defense during a traffic stop

If a New Jersey police officer pulls you over and instructs you to step out of your vehicle, you can assume that he or she suspects you of intoxication. It would be unusual for a police officer to tell someone to exit a vehicle for a mere traffic violation, such as a broken taillight. While police must establish probable cause to arrest you for DUI, there are criminal defense options you may employ even before an arrest has taken place, such as invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

For such rights to take effect, you must state that you are invoking them during a traffic stop or during interrogation following a DUI arrest. You may choose to verbally waive your right to remain silent; however, if you do so, be aware that law enforcement can use anything you say against you if your case goes to trial. There are several types of questions you must answer during a traffic stop.

You must confirm your identity and other information

A police officer may ask you to confirm your name, address or age during a traffic stop. You must answer truthfully. You must also comply when asked to show your driver’s license, proof of auto insurance and vehicle registration. Beyond that, you can “claim the Fifth,” meaning invoke your right to remain silent.

Police often spew a list of questions at a driver when they suspect DUI. An officer might ask you where you were prior to driving and he or she pulled you over. The officer might ask who you were with or whether you consumed alcohol. Sometimes, police ask questions as though they already know the facts when they do not, such as “How much alcohol have you had to drink tonight?” You do not have to respond, except to say that you are invoking your right to remain silent.

You may request legal support as soon as the police have detained you

If you are suspected of DUI in New Jersey, you may remain silent until you have had the opportunity to seek legal counsel. If a police officer is badgering you with questions during a traffic stop, you may implement a criminal defense strategy by requesting legal support before answering any questions. Exercising such rights is part of due process of law, to which you or anyone who accused of DUI or other crimes have a right.