Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense that can lead to a range of severe consequences, including jail time, fines, and license suspension. Unfortunately, too many people still put themselves and others at risk by driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Therefore, it's crucial to take measures to for being pulled over by the police and avoiding a DUI. In this blog post, we'll explore some tips to help you avoid getting stopped by the police and minimize the risk of a drunk driving arrest. For more information, contact our experienced Chicago DUI defense attorneys today for a free consultation!
How a DUI Can Affect You
Tragically, in the United States, an average of 32 people die each day due to collisions caused by drunk driving. This means that every single day, lives are cut short because someone chose to get behind the wheel after the consumption of alcoholic drinks. It's a heartbreaking reality that can be prevented if we all take steps to prevent drunk driving - even for commercial drivers.
A DUI is a criminal offense and involves operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. An individual found to have an alcohol level of 0.08 or higher and/or a drug level above the legal limit will be charged with DUI.
Notably, those who are convicted of DUI may face penalties such as fines, restitution payments, and additional penalties including community service hours; probation terms such as mandatory alcohol and/or drug counseling. Also, there are criminal penalties such as jail time, license suspension, and driver’s education courses.
Reasons Police May Pull You Over
The police can pull you over for various reasons, including basic traffic violations like speeding, running a red light, brake lights, broken tail lights and not wearing a seat belt. They can also stop you if your car has a broken taillight or license plate light, or if you're driving erratically or suspiciously. Moreover, law enforcement officers may pull you over if they suspect you're under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Furthermore, officers may suspect that you are under the influence if they observe strange behavior, such as talking to yourself, sleeping in your car, going over the speed limit, and so on. In some cases, they may even pull you over to investigate a criminal investigation. For example, if you're driving in the farthest lane on the highway, an officer may suspect that you are under the influence and pull you over to investigate further.
Avoiding a DUI After Being Stopped by the Police
Although it's impossible to avoid every single traffic violation, you can still take measures to reduce your chances of getting pulled over by the police. There are several things you can do to minimize the risk of being pulled over by the police:
Obey the Speed Limit and Other Traffic Laws
One of the most common reasons police officers pull over drivers is for basic traffic violations like speeding, failing to stop at a red light, or not wearing a seat belt. Usually, officers have a certain speed limit they look for when pulling over drivers, so it's important to always obey traffic laws, keep an eye on your speedometer and avoid committing any basic driving errors.
Make Sure Your License Plate Light Is Working
Ensure that all the lights on your car, including your license plate light, are working correctly. A broken license plate light is an easy way to get pulled over by the police. For instance, if you're driving in a place where there is limited lighting, an officer may spot a broken license plate light and pull you over.
Don't Drive Erratically or Suspiciously
Avoid driving erratically or suspiciously, such as weaving in and out of traffic or driving too slow or too fast. These actions can attract the attention of law enforcement officers, and they may pull you over to investigate. In other instances, an officer may suspect that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol if you drive erratically.
Avoid Aggressive or Nervous Law Enforcement Officers
If you're pulled over by a law enforcement officer who seems aggressive or nervous, try to remain calm and polite. Avoid making any sudden movements that may make the officer suspicious. Note that it's not uncommon for law enforcement officers to make mistakes, so don't panic if the officer makes an incorrect assumption.
Understand an Officer's Subjective Approach
Police officers have a lot of discretion when it comes to pulling over drivers. It's essential to understand that their approach is often subjective, and they may pull you over for reasons that seem arbitrary or unfair. For example, an officer may pull you over for driving too slowly or having a broken taillight, even if you weren't doing anything wrong. It is solely up to the officer to decide when and whom to pull over.
What To Do If You Are Pulled Over By The Police And Suspected Of Drunk Driving
If you're pulled over by the police for a DUI, it's essential to remain calm and follow these steps:
Remain Polite and Respectful Towards The Officer
Stay polite and respectful towards the officer, even if you don't agree with their decision to pull you over. Avoid arguing with the officer or becoming confrontational, as this can make the situation worse. In short, the more cooperative you are, the better.
Provide Documents When Requested
If the officer requests your license, registration, and insurance documents, provide them. It's illegal to refuse to comply with the officer's request, and doing so could lead to further legal trouble.
Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests
You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, which are not always accurate and can incriminate innocent people. However, keep in mind that refusing these tests can result in license suspension, so it's best to consult with a criminal defense attorney first.
Refuse to Take the Breathalyzer Test
You also have the right to refuse to take the breathalyzer test, which measures your breath alcohol screen test. However, refusing this test can also result in license suspension, and the police may obtain a warrant to take a blood sample anyway. Again, it's best to consult with a DUI defense lawyer before making any decisions.
Related Content: Everything You Need to Know About Illinois' Zero Tolerance Laws
Furthermore, keep in mind that police officers are trained to look for clues of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol intake on your breath, stumbling, and so on. Even if the breathalyzer isn't accurate, a police officer can still use their observations to make an arrest.
Also, it's important to remember that if you are arrested for DUI, contacting a criminal defense attorney is your best option. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, explain the legal situation, protect your rights, and possibly reduce or dismiss your charges.
Contact an Experienced Chicago DUI Lawyer Today!
Getting pulled over by the police can be a frightening experience, especially if you're suspected of drunk driving. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can minimize the risk of a drunk driving arrest. You don't have to be a perfect driver to avoid being stopped by the police — just remember to obey the speed limit, make sure your lights are working, don't drive erratically, and be respectful to law enforcement officers.
However, if you're facing criminal charges for drunk driving, it's crucial to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. At Chicago DUI Defense, we can help you understand your legal rights and represent you in court to minimize the risk of a conviction and severe consequences, such as jail time and license suspension.
We can also build effective defense strategies, such as challenging the initial traffic stop or the results of any breath test reading. Our team has extensive experience and knowledge of DUI law, and we know how to fight for our client's rights. Contact us today to get the best legal representation and defense experience!