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What are your rights if you are arrested?

Your behavior during an arrest, even if you are innocent, can have long-term consequences. You should know your rights and what to do if you are arrested for a DUI or other crime in New Jersey.


Police may arrest you if they have a warrant. This is a court order compelling the arrest of the person named in that document and setting forth probable cause for the arrest. Police must show you the warrant upon your request. Police may also arrest you without a warrant if they observe you committing or attempting to commit a crime.

Police can arrest if you if they have probable cause that you committed a crime. Probable cause is reasonably reliable information that you were the person who committed the crime.

Police are permitted to reasonable force to make an arrest if you resist until you are restrained.


Police, after a lawful arrest, may search you. In some circumstances, they may also your vehicle, and the surrounding area where you were. Do not resist the search because unlawful evidence may be later excluded. You do not have to sign a consent for the search.


Police are permitted to request that you take a breath test if they have reasonable cause to believe you were operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug.

You have no right to consult with an attorney before the test. If you refuse, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to six months. If you consent to the breath test, its results may be used as evidence against you. You are not required to consent to a blood test.

Remaining silent

You have the constitutional right to refuse to answer any questions after you identify yourself, sign any statements or take any tests other than a breath test. You can have a lawyer’s assistance.

You may also surrender these rights. Any information obtained from you, including oral and written statements, that was obtained voluntarily and without force or intimidation may be used against you as evidence.

Police or prosecutors have no authority to induce you to confess or admit guilt by force or threats or promises of leniency. Promises from the police or a prosecutor to assist you or act on your behalf with the court are not binding.

During a traffic stop, you do not have to explain your activities. But you must provide your license, registration, and insurance. You may ask why you were stopped and should be cooperative and polite. In all police stops, do not talk back, or act disorderly.

Attorneys can help protect your rights. They may also defend you throughout the arrest and prosecution.

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