NJ DUI Defense Lawyer Sam Sachs gives a breakdown of the process following an arrest on drug related DUI charges in New Jersey.
Interviewer: What’s the process going to be like once a person gets arrested? At that point what’s going to happen from there?
Sam Sachs: If they’re going to get arrested, there are likely to be field sobriety tests and the officer is going to make a determination on the street. They’re going to get arrested, be taken down to the station, and they will be put on a breathalyzer see if there is any alcohol. If there is no alcohol and the officer believes that there was impairment based on the psychomotor tests done on the street, admissions or drugs found, they’re then going to try and get a DRE, a Drug Recognition Expert, according to what they call them, to do an examination. There is usually someone in the department or someone in a neighboring department that will run the tests.
The DRE’s Have to Do a Certain Number of Evaluations Over a Period of Time in Order to Retain their Certification
The DRE has to have been through the course that’s accepted by the State although not held to be scientifically certified by the courts. They have to do a certain number of these evaluations over a period-of-time in order to keep their certification card. They will then come to a conclusion and they’re not always right. Actually, they’re usually not right unless the defendant confesses and the defendant will say, “I was taking pain killers” and then the DRE will decide miraculously, well he’s under the influence of painkillers. What a coincidence! These cases are especially the ones where there is no alcohol involved. They’re great cases to defend.
Police Officers May Perform Unlawful Searches from Time to Time
Interviewer: When a police officer searches a vehicle do police officers ever do that without permission by the person?
Sam Sachs: Police officers perform unlawful searches from time to time. Some of them do it by the book and they are entitled to a limited search at the time of arrest. They can do a pat down for their own safety, but yes I’ve seen police officers many times do a search after the fact. They need to get a warrant and they don’t always do that or they ask for consent and people consent. It’s amazing to me that they consent.
People Generally Concede to Police Pressure because of their Belief in Authority Figures
Interviewer: Do they do it out of fear or is it some kind of Stockholm syndrome?
Sam Sachs: I’m certainly not trained in psychology, but I think people have the basic impression that when they’re in a stressful situation, if they tell the police officer the truth they are going to be okay. That’s what I call a confession.
The Constitution Says that a Person Has the Right to Remain Silent to Avoid Incrimination
Well they’ll come to my office and say “I was really straight up with them and I told them the truth.” I say, “Yeah that’s what I call a confession.” It’s great your mom taught you and the school taught you and your religion taught you to tell the truth, but when in comes to giving information to someone that wants to prosecute you, you have the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution that says you have the right to remain silent. The officer may have even told you “you have the right to remain silent” and given you Miranda.
Police Officers are Experts at Interrogating People and Inducing Incriminating Statements
“Well, but I thought if I was truthful with him he’d cut me a break.” Police officers are very good at interrogating people. “Well we could do this the hard way or the easy way and if you’re straight up with us and tell us the truth we’ll tell the judge you’re a good guy.” Great! As you are leaving in cuffs and being sentenced, they’ll tell the judge “you know what judge, he’s a really good guy.”