Top Misconceptions About The DWI Process.
The Alcotest® is definitely something that there are some misconceptions about concerning the DWI process. People tend to think that they are only going to have to give one breath sample. The Alcotest® requires two valid breath samples in order for it to provide a reading.
There is also a requirement that the officer observe the defendant for at least twenty minutes prior to administrating a breath test, and to make sure that they do not burp, regurgitate, or put anything in their mouth that might affect the test.
Many people will say, “They just sat me down for a really long time before they gave me the test. I don’t know why they did that.” That is actually an example of the police following proper protocol.
Use of Handcuffs
Many people are very upset, and concerned that they have been placed in handcuffs. “I’m not a dangerous person. I don’t need to be in handcuffs.” Again, that is the police following proper protocol.
Right to Remain Silent both before and Following Arrest and the Miranda Rights
People do not know that they do not have to answer police questions. This applies even prior to being arrested. After they are in custody they have to be given their Miranda Rights, and that is a misconception. They think that the moment the cuffs are on, they have to be read the Miranda Rights and that is not the case.
Miranda only applies when somebody is in custody, and asked questions that are designed to elicit incriminating answers. After they are arrested, they should be advised of their Miranda Rights before they are asked, “Where did you have your last drink? How much did you have? How much time elapsed between drinks?”
Police Question and Eliciting a Response: Miranda Rights Protect Answers of an Incriminating Nature
This is when Miranda would apply.
I have clients who tell me their last name is spelled wrong on the ticket. Then they say, “Can you get the case thrown out?” The answer to that is a resounding no. They ask about the Miranda Rights. “They never gave me my Miranda Rights.” I always ask them, “After you were arrested what questions did they ask you?” They will say, “Well, they asked me my address.” That is okay, they can do that. It is not designed to elicit an incriminating response.
Alternatively, they will say they did not read me my rights until much later. That is okay, too, as long as they are not asking you incriminating questions before they have read you your rights.
New Jersey Is One of the States Where a DWI Charge Is Not Criminal
Probably the biggest misconception about DWI is that it is going to destroy your life. There may be very serious consequences, but an attorney can help you to minimize those consequences.
Another big misconception is that it is a criminal offense, in New Jersey. It is a crime in most states; it is not criminal in New Jersey. One of the biggest fears people have is that it is going to be on their criminal record for life. If they go to apply for a job, they are worried that the employer will look into their background, and see the charges.
A DWI Shouldn’t Affect Employment Opportunities That Do Not Involve Driving
That is not the case unless you are applying for a job where the employer is looking into your driver’s history, for; say a government job, where you have to drive from place to place. They will look at your driver’s abstract history.
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