New Jersey DWI Attorney John Menzel

Should I Exit My Car Immediately When Pulled Over Or Am I Required To Stay In My Vehicle?


It is generally not advisable to get out of the car as an officer is approaching. You should get your driving credentials ready as soon as possible so that they are in your hand as soon as the officer is at your window. When the officer is there, roll your window down and present the driving credentials. This way, the officer will not be able to talk about “slow fumbling hand movements” but will accept the information and treat you much more favorably because you will save them time. If the officer asks you to get out of the car, you must get out of the car because if you don’t do that, you can be charged with an offense called obstructing justice or interfering with law enforcement functions. These are disorderly person’s offenses under the criminal code–what other states would call misdemeanors.

It is always a good idea to follow the officer’s direction if they order you to get out of the car. Beyond that, you have a right to remain silent. You have no obligation to do balance tests. You should not answer questions or do any balance tests by simply telling the officer politely, directly, and firmly that you are not going to do them. At that point, if the officer chooses to arrest you, you must submit to the arrest, and if you are taken into the station and asked to submit breath samples, the law requires you to do so.

How Should I Respond to an Officer if I Don’t Have Certain Documents Like My Driver’s License, Insurance, or Registration at the Stop?

If you don’t have certain documents or driving credentials when being stopped, tell the officer immediately that you don’t have it. You will immediately be subject to the charge of failure to have the credentials in your possession, but that’s a relatively minor charge that would result only in a fine. There are no motor vehicle points or driving privilege revocation associated with it.

What Questions Am I Required to Answer During a Traffic Stop in New Jersey? Should I Provide an Answer to the Question, “Do You Know Why I Stopped You?”

Unless you can read the officer’s mind, you don’t know why you were stopped. Other questions raise a big red flag that should prompt you to clam up. If the officer asks, for example, if you had been drinking or smoking marijuana, that’s a signal that the investigation is taking a very negative turn from your perspective. When you hear a question like that, you have become a target of a police investigation, at which point, your best response is to say, “Officer, I will not be answering any more questions.” If the officer persists, tell them you would like to call your attorney.

What Sort of Training Do Police Officers Receive When It Comes to Making Traffic Stops?

Officers receive general academy training about pursuing a person and usually waiting until there is a safe area to pull over regarding traffic stops.

For more information on Exiting a Vehicle During a Traffic Stop, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 218-9090 today.

John Menzel, J.D.

John Menzel, J.D.: Dedicated DWI Defense in New Jersey. With over 30 years of experience, committed to protecting your license, your freedom, and your reputation. Let's work together to beat that charge.

Request a Consultation Session (732) 218-9090

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