There is always a lot of talk about how to deal with being pulled over by a police officer after you may have had one or more drinks. Today, we are writing to provide the reminder that the best and most effective way to prevent the harmful effects of a DUI conviction is to not get pulled over in the first place. WE ARE NOT RECOMMENDING THAT YOU DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE. We are simply stating that driving under the .08 BAC threshold is not a crime in and of itself, and so to avoid unnecessary inconvenience at the hands of the police, read on.
If you have had one or maybe two drinks and you have not reached the .08 BAC threshold, field sobriety tests and breath tests may bring back erroneous results and give an officer a reason to arrest you when he or she ultimately may be incorrect. The best way to avoid this outcome is to not get pulled over in the first place. This may seem like an obvious maxim, however, there are good and more than simple reasons why this is so. Basically, the state and federal constitutions prevent police from doing whatever they want in the pursuit of crime prevention. When it comes to pulling over a person driving in an automobile for any reason, the police may not just randomly select cars nor profile people for an unreasonable reason. Instead, the police must have at least “reasonable suspicion” that you are committing some level of a crime as you are driving. Given, this may be as simple as driving without a seatbelt or another minor traffic infraction.
But, once the officer has this “reasonable suspicion” and he or she pulls you over, he or she may then begin to look for additional signs of a DUI, such as physical demeanor and anything inside the car that is in plain view. Any number of things can demonstrate to the officer that what was “reasonable suspicion” of a minor traffic violation becomes “probable cause” that you have committed DUI. At this point, the officer is justified in arresting you. Certainly, when you have not committed a DUI, but even when you have, this is always a major inconvenience.
So, the best way to avoid this cascading effect is that you must not give them a reason to suspect anything in the first place. When we say “suspect,” we mean not the only reason to suspect a DUI is occurring, but also reason to suspect that any minor traffic violation is occurring. This means that you should make sure your taillights are functioning properly. Do not text. Wear your seatbelt. We know these things may be obvious. Consider this another reason that you should do them in addition to their direct safety benefits.
(This post is intended to be educational and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions or believe these issues affect you or your case, please contact an attorney).