How Do Police Know You're Drinking and Driving?
There are many common factors involved in a police officer discovering a driver who's been using drugs or alcohol.
How do you know if you are over the limit? How can police officers tell if you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol? What happens if you're pulled over? And what should you do if you're arrested?
This blog post puts it all together so you can know the dangers of drinking and driving, how to avoid driving at all while under the influence, and how to handle the legal repercussions.
How do you know?
The BAC (blood alcohol content) level technically is .08% for every state in the U.S. However, you also can use some common sense. It doesn't matter, in some cases, if you've had ten drinks or one. People are each effected differently by alcohol. A 250 lb man who drinks one beer may be fine, while a 110 lb college student who has half a beer can be a danger on the road. You can't ever truly know, and it would be wrong to say, "you can drink this much" as it's subjective.
If you do drink, the best decision you can make is to not drive at all -- to get a cab, call home for a ride, or use a designated driver.
How can officers tell if you're under the influence?
If you're drinking or using drugs, it greatly increases the chance you'll be in an accident. A recent study pointed out you're much more likely to be in an accident after drinking than if you had nothing to drink. It does make sense.
If an officer suspects you've been drinking, he often notices your driving first. Profiling based on other means -- pulling someone over who appears suspicious or who is a minority -- is illegal.
However, if you weave from lane to lane, hit the side of the road, go between one lane and another, stop and start quickly, and especially go through stop signs and red lights, these are red flags to officers. You will likely be pulled over.
In some cases, it does not mean you are over the limit. You may be fine. However, if the officer gives you a breathalyzer and you fail, you will be arrested. If you pass the breathalyzer but are clearly drunk, as some people are effected differently, you can be given different sobriety tests and still arrested. Also, if you are under age and clearly have been drinking, even if you aren't over the BAC limit, you can be charged.
What should you do if you're arrested?
If you've been arrested for a DUI, you need a lawyer. It might be hard to remember during the event, but you want to follow all laws and pretty much say nothing. How the officer acts, if he or she gives you a Miranda, and their explanation on why the pulled you over can be used in court.
Most DUI cases result in charges. That means you need to negotiate with the prosecution. If you receive multiple DUI charges, most states consider that a felony (or aggravated DUI) and you can expect big penalties.
Who do you hire?
You can find many DUI lawyers online and in the yellow pages. Though this experience is never easy, if you hire an experienced lawyer it can save you a lot of time and worry.