Avoiding a DUI Traffic Stop

Let me state the obvious, if you're drunk, then don't drive.  You certainly don't want to hurt someone else or yourself in an accident.  You also don't want to get arrested, spend time in jail, lose your license, pay huge fines, and perhaps even lose your job.

With that said, at one time or another almost everyone has had a few beers and gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle.  The problem is that once you are stopped even a hint of alcohol on your breath could get you arrested for DUI.  It is my experience that most people do not realize how little it takes to exceed the legal standard of 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC).  For the average sized person, three or four drinks could easily place them in the "drunk-driver" category.  However, based solely on a police officer's claim that you were "impaired," even though your BAC was below the legal threshold, you can still be convicted as a drunk driver.

How do you avoid being caught up in a DUI nightmare?  Well, you could avoid drinking and driving altogether.  However, if you choose to drink and drive, there are a number of things you can do to lessen the likelihood of being stopped and charged with a drunk-driving violation.

Your Vehicle - Police officers need probable cause to make a traffic stop.  That cause could an observable defect in the vehicle’s safety equipment.  How can you lower your risk?  Once every three weeks turn on all the lights on your vehicle.  Check your headlight, taillights, brake lights and turn signals.  Get broken windshields fixed, and don't forget the license plate light, because this is a favorite of law enforcement!

Your Driving - Obviously, violating traffic laws is a good way to attract the attention of police officers. Speeding, failing to use signals, or rolling through a stop sign are controllable situations.  Making sure to wear your seat belt.  Also, avoid driving through areas where there are a lot of bars late at night.

You've Been Stopped, Now What? – Pull over to a safe place.  Immediately roll down your window and vent the passenger compartment.  Be courteous, but admit to nothing.  This cannot be emphasized enough.  Any admission, however inconsequential, will be used against you. 

In the next edition, I will discuss whether you should agree to take the Field Sobriety Test.  Remember to contact an attorney as soon as possible.  Until next time, be safe out there!