How to Avoid a DWI

No one wants to be arrested for Driving Under the Influence. It is never a goal, but always an unfortunate consequence of poor decisions. If you ask the question, “How can I avoid getting a DUI in New Jersey?” the obvious answer is to not drink before driving.Besides that obvious one, though, there are many other decisions that you make along the way during the course of a DUI stop that could either prevent you getting a DUI charge against you, or at least lessen your charges.

Have Updated Documents Ready

If you get stopped and are nervous that your stop may turn into a DUI charge, do your best to stay calm. When asked by the police officer to hand over your documents, calmly and smoothly pass your license, registration and proof of insurance to the officer. He or she will be watching you closely since they need a certain level of suspicion in order to give a field sobriety test.

By planning ahead before you start the car, and having these documents at the ready, you can reduce the officer’s suspicion. Fumbling through expired documents or searching through a messy glove compartment can tip off an officer that you are acting erratically, which may spur them to test your sobriety.

Be Calm and Polite During Questioning

If the officer asks you if you have been drinking, it is ultimately your judgment call on how to answer. There is no right or wrong answer. If you say yes, that you had one drink, and later fail a sobriety test, your answer will become part of the officer’s record. However, if you lie and say no, being caught lying could increase your chances of being arrested, too.

The most important thing to remember when speaking with the officer is to be calm, clear and polite. Do NOT get defensive or argumentative.

Field Sobriety Tests

New Jersey allows police to ask the driver to step out of the car for any traffic stop. During this time, the officer will observe you for blood-shot eyes, the smell of alcohol, or any other signs that you have been drinking. Do your best to calmly step out of the car, maintain polite eye contact.

If asked to perform any field sobriety tests, keep in mind that you are allowed to request things that may make you more successful. If you have on difficult shoes, or if the terrain is uneven, you can request changes. While the officer can decline your requests, at least you will have your concerns on record in case you go to court.

Roadside Breath Tests

If you are requested to breathe into an Alcotest Breathalyzer to determine your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), you typically should do so. The state of New Jersey is an implied consent state, which means that you gave your consent to be tested when you accepted your driver’s license. While you can still request a more reliable test instead of the roadside test, it is then up to the officer’s discretion whether to charge you for refusal to take a test or not.

Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney

The Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver are well-equipped to defend against your DUI charges and get you the best possible outcome. Visit us at or call any of our nine offices throughout New Jersey at 877-450-8301 to arrange a consultation.

24 April, 2014 / by John Marshall