How Police Spot Drunk Drivers in New Jersey

Modern car driving

Why Was I Stopped for Drunk Driving in Middlesex NJ?

Many people, whether they are too intoxicated to drive or not, will try to freshen up as they leave a bar by chewing gum or taking a mint to make sure that their breath doesn’t smell like alcohol, just in case the police decide to pull them over that night. Other folks who drive after consuming some level of alcohol try to drive well within the speed limit to reduce their chances of drawing unwanted attention from law enforcement. Obviously, you want to do everything you can do avoid a prolonged roadside DWI investigation. It takes time, is extremely stressful, and it may result in you being arrested if police believe you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. With that in mind, it is important to know the common tactics that police employ to spot drunk drivers in New Jersey. If you need help with a DWI or DUI charge that already happened in Middlesex County or elsewhere in New Jersey, our highly credentialed and skilled NJ DUI lawyers are here to assist you. Call (732) 659-9600 or send us a message today for a free consultation.

Police Look at Your Driving Pattern in East Brunswick

Police often spot drunk drivers by just watching your driving. If you are weaving, you forget to turn on your headlights at night, you rapidly accelerate and decelerate for no apparent reason, you leave your blinker on for a long period of time after you turn, or, even worse, if police see you drinking from an open container or smell pot coming out of your car, officers will likely pull you over and conduct a DWI investigation. This is particularly common if police see this type of driving pattern at night, after bars start closing down, etc.

If an Officer Finds You Asleep in Car in Edison NJ

Driving is only one way to spot a drunk driver. Seriously impaired people will often fall asleep behind the wheel, whether their car is parked or not. This can result in catastrophic traffic accidents, although often it results in a drunk driver hitting a tree, a light pole, or a center median—all dead DWI giveaways. Some drunk or high drivers fall asleep at a stoplight and may not wake up when other folks start honking at you. That will almost certainly result in police responding and a DWI stop.

If you feel okay when you start driving but then the alcohol hits you, the responsible thing to do is pull over and stop driving at the safest possible moment. But if police find you illegally parked on the shoulder of the freeway, double parked, or parked in a red zone, or even legally parked in a parking lot and asleep in your car, they may approach you to make sure everything is all right. Some people illegally park and then hot box their cars, rolling up the windows and smoking marijuana inside. That’s a quick way to get investigated for DUI. Even hot boxing your car the day or night before can create a problem, as the seats and fabrics in the car often absorb the smell of marijuana.

Officers Waiting Outside a New Brunswick Bar or Piscataway Stadium

Officers keep detailed statistics on the areas with the most traffic collisions and DWI arrests. They likely know the local watering holes pretty well. Sometimes they will park their cruisers in an inconspicuous location outside a bar or club, wait for you to walk out, watch you start driving, then quickly initiate a traffic stop. They also often park near or patrol areas around stadiums, concert venues, and restaurants, betting that someone in the crowd is probably driving home drunk. This is most likely to occur on weekends around prime drinking hours such as happy hour, close to bar close, or when a game or concert ends.

Police Conducting DWI Checkpoints and Stops in Woodbridge NJ

A large number of DWI arrests result from random stops, whether due to a scheduled sobriety checkpoint or for broken taillights, expired registration, illegally tinted windows, texting and driving, and other common traffic violations. If officers randomly stop a car and smell alcohol or notice that you are slurring, fumbling for your license and registration, they see that your eyes are bloodshot, or they observe other signs of intoxication, you are very likely to be investigated for DWI. Moreover, New Jersey often increases DUI patrols on holiday weekends and around specific times of year when people are known to go to parties, barbecues, and other celebrations. For example, they recently added 130 more state troopers to the roadways to spot drunk drivers during July 4th weekend.

Stopped for Drunk Driving, What Can I do?

If you have been stopped for drunk driving, you need to talk to a lawyer who can advise you about what to do next. We have successfully handled thousands of DWI cases for clients in New Brunswick, Edison, Woodbridge, Piscataway, East Brunswick, South Brunswick, and throughout New Jersey. To speak with a seasoned New Jersey DWI lawyer who knows how to defend your case, contact us at (732) 659-9600. An attorney will provide you with a free consultation.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.