DWI Laws in New Jersey
Evidence Used in CourtEven before you were signaled to stop your vehicle, much information about you was recorded and will be used to prosecute you in court. Movements you make or conversations you exchange with the officer are also recorded. In many cases, the subject is not even aware that his conversation is recorded especially when it looks "chatty" or "is going smoothly". You should always be aware that records produced are almost always used to prosecute you. Examples of Evidence
1. How the police officer found your vehicle
You may have been stopped because of other moving violations such as speeding or improper passing. Perhaps your vehicle did not have a license plate displayed properly. Perhaps your car had a light that failed.
2. What you were doing in a car when the officer was approaching your vehicle
You may be looking for your insurance card, registration card or driver's license. Remember, the police feel vulnerable when they approach a strange car. Keep your hands visible, stay seated in the car until instructed otherwise, and make eye contact with the officer.
3. Conversation between the officer and the driver
The officer may ask you questions such as, "Do you know why I stopped you"? After engaging in a small conversation, the officer may ask you questions such as, "Have you been drinking"?, "Your eyes are red. Did you have a drink"? Your answer will be recorded (either on tape, in writing, or both) and used as evidence in court.
4. How you present registration card, insurance card, and your driver's license
The officer will ask the driver to present registration card, insurance card, and driver's license. The way you present documentation is also monitored. If, for example, you drop one of those because you were feeling nervous, the officer will probably write that you dropped your documents. The officer may write as if you were so drunk that you dropped them even though that may not be the case. What you fail to do can often be written down as signs of intoxication.
5. Tests conducted on the road
As I explained in Did You Do Any Test On The Road?, test results such as Preliminary Breath Test, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, One Leg Stand, and Walk and Turn will be used as evidence of intoxication to arrest you or to prosecute you in court. Again, there is no additional penalty to refuse to do those tests on the road.
6. BrAC Results from the Machine
After you are taken to a local police station, you will be asked to provide breath samples. Defenses can differ depending on which instrument you used. When you submit breath samples and when those are accepted by the machine, the police officer may read your reading loud, such as "0.08" or "0.11". Try to remember that number. If you refuse to give breath samples, you will face an additional charge and separate penalties: you will be charged with both DWI and Refusal.
Some municipalities record DWI arrests. There may be a videotape recording from the time you were stopped to the time you are in custody. The recording device is often equipped in front of the police car (just like you have seen on TV) and records up to the time of arrest. The officer often has a microphone attached in his uniform so audio is also recorded. You should remember that both what you do and what you say are recorded and used in court to prosecute you. Since the videotaping usually ends when you are in custody, it stops somewhere when you are in a police car in handcuffs. What the videotape shows is mostly what you do and say on the road. Providing of breath samples is often not recorded since this occurs at the police station.
8. Blood Sample
Since New Jersey is a "blood statute" state, your blood may be taken and used in court in certain circumstances. These circumstances often include when there is an accident and you were taken to a hospital. In such an occasion, where there are no breath samples, only a blood sample is used to measure true BAC. However, even if you were arrested and submitted breath samples at a police station, you can go to a hospital and get your blood sample yourself. That may help you in court later. Good DWI attorneys know what to use and what not use in court to defend the client. As I explain in 10 Things To Do When Arrested for DWI, I recommend that you go get your blood sampled after you are released from a police station. Alcohol detection machines are known to yield inaccurate results in certain circumstances. Your blood results may help you to fight your case.