New Jersey DWI Attorney John Menzel

What Happens In The First 24 Hours After A DWI Arrest?


After you’re arrested for DWI, you’ll be taken from where you were pulled over to the police station. They will ask you to submit breath samples after reading you a document called a standard statement. That standard statement is intended to inform you of your rights and obligations in connection with breath testing. Among the rights you have is to get an independent test of your blood, breath, or urine after your release from custody. You are absolutely required under New Jersey Law to provide breath samples. If you don’t, you’ll be charged with the offense of refusing to submit breath samples. Refusing to submit breath samples is a separate offense in New Jersey that is adjudicated by the municipal court along with a DWI charge.

You’ll be permitted to retain your driving privilege while the case is pending, but your car will be impounded for 12 hours. After that 12 hour period, if you show the police that you have a valid license, registration, and a proof of insurance, the car will be released with the payment of impound and storage fees. Your tickets will have a notice of your first court date. This is called an arraignment and it is when the judge will inform you of the charges against you and the penalties you face.

You have the right to obtain an attorney. If you hire an attorney before the arraignment date, the arraignment can be waived and a not guilty plea filed with the court by your attorney. The case then proceeds in an ordinary fashion.

What Rights Do I Have After A DWI Arrest?

Under the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda versus Arizona, you have an absolute right to remain silent and not answer any questions that are intended to elicit information from you. You must distinguish between questions designed to elicit information and questions designed to make you act, such as a request to submit breath samples. That is a question that requires an answer of yes, that you will submit the samples. When it comes to questions seeking information such as what you do for a living, questions concerning your health, or how much you had to drink, do not answer them.

On occasion, police officers will ask you to do balance tests after you’ve been arrested. You have no obligation to do these. After the arrest, do nothing except take the breath sample, provide your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, and arrange to have someone pick you up and take you to a nearby hospital, where you can request independent testing of your blood so that you can potentially challenge the state’s breath test results.

Will I be Arraigned Before I Am Released From Custody?

In New Jersey, you will not be arraigned before you are released from police custody. The arraignment takes place up to a couple of weeks after the arrest in the municipal court.

At What Point Should I Contact An Attorney After A DWI Arrest?

You should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Usually, that means the next day. The attorney can go over your penalty exposure, make sure you understand what the charges mean and the elements of the offenses, and defend you against the charges.

Can I Contact An Attorney Prior To Taking A Breath Or A Blood Test In A DWI Case?

In New Jersey, you are not permitted to contact anyone before you submit breath samples. The request for breath samples requires you to submit tangible evidence. There is no constitutional privilege to refuse to provide tangible breath-test evidence in accordance with the law. The breath samples are the only evidence that a person is required to submit without a warrant or a court order.

For more information on Aftermath Of A DWI Arrest In New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 899-1899 today.

John Menzel, J.D.

Learn your options - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (732) 899-1899

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