In New Jersey, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense that can result in significant penalties. A conviction for DWI results in a suspension of your driver’s license, as well as a fine and the possibility of jail time. The state has to follow a lengthy process before the case gets to the point at which you could face a conviction. This process can seem overwhelming to many people. An experienced DWI attorney can help you understand how the process works and what you may do to assert your rights. The following is an overview of what happens during a typical New Jersey DWI arrest.
Investigation at the Scene
A traffic stop is one of the most common ways in which a DWI case begins. A police officer might see a car driving erratically and suspect DWI. They might pull someone over for another traffic violation, such as running a red light, and suspect DWI based on factors like the driver’s behavior or the smell of alcohol.
The officer must have probable cause to suspect a driver of DWI before they may proceed further with an investigation. They may ask a driver questions about whether they have had anything to drink. They may also ask the driver to perform certain field sobriety tests (FSTs). A driver can refuse to perform the FSTs, but that most likely will not stop the officer from placing them under arrest.