It is probably safe to assume that most people do not intentionally get behind the wheel while intoxicated. They have a drink or two after work and think they are fine to head home. Or, maybe they have more than a few but think their body weight or history of drinking enables them to handle more alcohol. Ignorant, yes, but not intentionally driving drunk. Many of the cases that are seen in court are situations just like this where a defendant simply did not realize he or she was over the DUI limit.
In most states, the legal limit is .08 percent. For most people, this level is exceeded after about three or four drinks. In fact, even if the driver is below this amount but driving in a manner that reflects drunk driving, such as weaving in and out of a lane, this person can still be arrested for a DUI. This is why it is so important to know and protect your DUI rights if you are stopped for a DUI.
First, authorities need a reason to stop a vehicle on the open road. If a tail light is out, if you are speeding, or even if the license plate is too dirty, the car can be stopped. In addition, the example we used above is more than enough of a reason to stop a car. Point being, address any and all excuses officers have for stopping a vehicle on the road.
If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, officers must adhere to only pulling over a specific car in line. For example, the checkpoint can automatically pull over every tenth car. However, if you are showing signs of drunk driving while in line, the officers can still pull you over. All they need is just cause to make the stop.
Once the stop has occurred, remain inside the vehicle and locate all of your paperwork. It is also a good idea to turn on your overhead light so the officer can see inside the car. It is less likely that you are hiding something if you are willing to give the officer a brightly lit view of the inside of your vehicle.
While you are stopped, you are under no obligation to answer any questions without an attorney. This is a very sneaky way for officers to conduct an interrogation without you actually knowing it. In essence, the officer is probably chatting you up to see if you are slurring your words or to see if you have been at an event or location where alcohol is served. Be polite, but you do not have to answer these questions.
If the officer asks you to do a road test, you do not have to comply. Whether you have been drinking or not, the officer may take this as a sign of guilt and hold your for a DUI. Once you get back to the station or processing center, a tech will give you some type of chemical test. If given a choice, take the breathalyzer because defense lawyers have a better chance of questioning the results.
Again, the best advice we can give you is to not drink and drive. However, having just one or two drinks does not always mean you are impaired. If you are attending an event where alcohol is served, be careful about your consumption so as not to lose control or go over the DUI limit.
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DUIRights Support is comprised of legal writers and attorneys who are able to generate useful information about issues relating to DUI. Please use all information at your own discretion and never use the information as legal advice without consulting with an attorney.