If there is one thing we all know as a nation right now, it is that interactions with police can escalate quickly. This is why many New Jersey residents find police interactions so stressful, and why it is so important to understand your rights when you are stopped by police, especially after you have been drinking.
Understand that if you are inebriated, and you are being pulled over, it is likely that the police officer is pulling you over because your driving appears erratic. They don’t actually know if you have been drinking. You should act calmly and responsibly and focus on mitigation at this point.
Focus on first impressions
Pull over as quickly and safely as possible into a well-lit area. Turn on your lights, roll down your windows and turn off your engine. Keep your hands on the wheel, wait for the police officer to approach your window and hand over your documents when requested.
On a personal level
Breathe. Stay calm. Stay in control of your body, emotions and words.
Do not argue with the police officer or use foul language. Even if you feel uncomfortable, do not run, and never touch the officer.
If you get arrested
Do not answer any questions and ask for a lawyer. Do no resist, especially if you do not believe you did anything wrong.
Innocence is not an excuse to not spend the night in jail. If the police officer wants to send you to jail, you are going to jail.
Remember as much information as possible, including physical descriptions of the police officers, badge numbers, patrol car numbers, witnesses, possible camera locations, etc.
When you are able, write everything down you can, and if you were injured, get as much documentation of those injuries as possible, included photographs and medical treatment documents.
Speak to a lawyer as soon as you can, so that you can begin crafting your DUI defense.