Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never a good idea. One major mistake that many people make is relying on self-evaluation or subjective evaluation by a person who may also be under the influence at the time. Importantly, both of these types of evaluation carry an increased risk of being completely erroneous. As a result, the person may be getting behind the steering wheel of a vehicle while not under full control, with reduced attention and reaction capabilities, which, in turn, means a significantly increased risk of life-threatening accidents. Remember: you can never know how intoxicated a beer actually makes you, while law enforcement officers, given the special training that they now receive, would quickly be able to notice warning signs of DUI.
When would I be considered to be driving under the influence?
Police officers and other law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for symptoms of your being intoxicated. These would include incoherent speech, redness of face, irrational or inappropriate behavior or remarks, references to alcohol or drugs, the presence of suspicious odors or related paraphernalia in the vehicle, extreme nervousness and so on. While none of these, taken alone, would constitute adequate basis for DUI arrest, they easily serve as strong grounds to request that you go through roadside tests and blood or breath tests. If you are not driving under influence, these tests would be an inconvenience, but if you are in violation of the law, then they would be increasingly damaging to your case.
What should I do if pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence?
The very first thing to remember in case the police pull you over for any reasons is to keep calm. It doesn’t matter if you have done something wrong or you haven’t, the way you behave in the interaction with the officers could be crucial to your driving history and your very liberty. There are many misconceptions and myths about a roadside check, but you should follow common sense and know your rights at all times. Remember that everything you say and do may be used against you by the prosecutors in court, so if you are unsure whether you can resist saying something that may be misconstrued by the police officers, it is best to use your constitutional right to keep silent. Exercising this right does not mean just ignoring the police officer when they come up to you, of course, but you may politely refuse to answer any questions that they put to you.
Should I refuse the different tests as well?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the test. Roadside tests, such as those where the driver is requested to walk in a straight line, touch their nose with their fingertips, balancing on one foot and so on, are completely voluntary. A police officer cannot order you or make you go through these tests, even if they have strong suspicion that you may be driving under the influence. All you need to do is politely refuse, if it is your choice not to participate in these tests. The situation with blood and breath tests can seem similar on the surface, but are, in fact, very different. By law, you can refuse to take these tests, but at a cost – an automatic suspension of your license for one year.
What else to keep in mind
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, is definitely not something that law enforcement or the court system take lightly. Therefore, if you have consumed any amount of alcohol, you should always consider whether your judgment or physical abilities are impaired before you get behind the wheel. Additionally, you should always be aware of your rights and responsibilities in order to know exactly what you should do if you are pulled over for a DUI. It is always a good idea to consult an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney before facing charges in court.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This article was written by John Fetcher, a legal writer, according to whom, it is always a good idea to consult an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney before facing charges in court.