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Dealing with holiday DWI stops

The holiday season brings more than just good cheer and merriment. It also brings out additional patrols for drunk driving enforcement. Compared to other times of the year, Christmas and New Years is punctuated with anti-drunk driving campaigns. It will not be surprising to see sobriety checkpoints in addition to more law enforcement officers on the road. Because of this, it is important for New Jersey drivers to understand how to deal with a DWI stop.

This post will give some basic pointers.

Keep it friendly – Naturally, no one “likes” getting stopped by the police, but being overly sarcastic or rude to an officer may raise his or her suspicions. Most officers have thick skins, but if they are provoked, the stop may not go well.

Don’t make sudden moves – Safety is a paramount concern for police officers, especially when they make car stops at night. Because of this, it is helpful to keep your hands where the officer can see them, and only reach for things (such as your registration), only after asking the officer if you can get them.

Follow the officer’s directions – Sometimes officers may ask you to do something that you know he (or she) does not have the legal right to do. However, a roadside stop is not the best forum to assert your constitutional rights. Simply follow the officer’s direction and make sure you take detailed notes (mental or otherwise) of the encounter so that you can explain to an experienced criminal defense attorney how your rights were violated.

Source:, “Cops increasing DWI patrols, checkpoints starting Thanksgiving weekend,” Justin Zaremba, November 27, 2013