Drinking and driving do not mix. This implies that if you’ve been drinking, refrain from driving. Drunken driving can result in injuries and loss of lives – yours and/or others. Why would anyone want to drive under influence and end up smashing their own car or damaging someone else’s property?
The worst thing about drunken driving is that it can lead to you getting arrested, losing your license, paying hefty fines and insurance amounts, and generally lose the kind of life you’ve been living all along.
However, you need not necessarily have to be drunk and drive to get arrested/found guilty of drunk driving in Joliet. In fact, any person with any amount of alcohol in their blood stream can be charged with DUI and be held responsible for an accident which may take place, irrespective of who was actually at fault.
So if you’re under the impression that because you drink and drive responsibly, you’re safe from the drunk-driving charge and its consequences, you’ve got something else coming at you.
In this post, we look at a few measures you can take to avoid a DUI arrest.
Adherence to Traffic Norms
A police officer needs probable cause (or a valid reason to stop your vehicle) to be able to take action against you. Don’t make his job easy by committing traffic violations. It is always a good idea of refrain from driving a vehicle with an expired plate, defunct brake lights/turn indicators/head lights.
When you get into your car, make sure you fasten your seat belt as many states have made wearing seat belts when driving mandatory, failing which an officer is liable to stop your vehicle.
Adhering to speed limits, keeping off your cell phone, turning down the radio, showing indicators and making complete stops will do you good. The less the distractions, the better you will drive.
One of the first things that the officer will look for as evidence against you will be the stench of alcohol on your breath. Do remember that you’ll be dealing with a trained law enforcer here, so merely chewing gum will not mask the stench. You need to be smart about this.
Before you even get into your car, eat something, chew gum, gargle with mouthwash, re-apply your cologne/perfume, or (as a last resort) light up a cigarette. These may work in camouflaging the smell of alcohol originating from your breath.
Keep the windows of the vehicle open to get some fresh air in, and for the alcohol stench to escape.
Keep Alcohol Away
If you get pulled over on a suspicion of DUI and get caught with alcohol in your possession, you could be heading for big trouble. Do not ever make the mistake of transporting alcohol in your car after you’ve been drinking.
If you do have anything stashed up in your vehicle after a night of partying, make sure you discard the liquor bottles/containers from your vehicle, else it may get difficult to convince the court that you were sober when the prosecutor presents pictures of an open beer bottle resting in your car’s cup holder.
Do Not Tell the Officer You’ve Been Drinking
When asked whether you’ve been drinking, use your right to remain silent. A lack of response to the officer’s questions cannot be held against you, so says the Fifth Amendment.
Becoming unresponsive to his questions will prevent the possibility of you having to lie to him, which can be held against you. So make sure you do not lie.
And while this sort of behavior may make you look suspicious, know that you don’t have to provide any answers before consulting your DUI lawyer in Joliet.
Skip the Sobriety and the Breathalyzer Tests
Even if the officer does not smell alcohol on your breath, he may say that he does (he’s allowed to lie to you). He may then ask you perform certain field sobriety tests, which differ from state to state. Remember, you are not under arrest and are not required to perform any of these tests. In fact, performing them might lead to you giving more ammunition in the hands of the officer, which means more trouble for you!
Additionally, say no to perform the portable breath test as well. The officer may say that he will let you go if you pass the test, but do not fall for that. Politely decline to submit to it. While several states now allow officers to carry portable breath units on them, they are undecided upon whether the results can be used as evidence.
In some jurisdictions, a refusal to submit to field sobriety tests may result in the suspension of your driver’s license. If you’ve really had too much to drink and are likely to fail the test, do not submit to them and settle for the license suspension in order to decrease the probability of a successful prosecution in the court.
On the other hand, if you know that you’ve not/barely had anything to drink, you could take the field sobriety tests as there is a high probability that you will pass them.
If the officer places you under arrest and takes you in custody, try and stay calm and be quiet. While you may be panicking inside, refrain from letting it show, especially in violent ways. Focus on regaining your composure and remember not to utter a word.
The officer may start talking to you in a friendly tone to get you to admit to drinking. Again, do not fall for that. Simply respond by saying that you would rather not speak until your attorney is present.
Hire a DUI Defense Attorney
Engage the services of a qualified and an experienced DUI attorney without wasting any more time. Be aware of the fact that regardless of how weak the evidence against you is, the prosecution will seek a conviction against you.
You may not be able to defend yourself as well as an experienced attorney, who will study your case minutely and find technical defenses on your behalf.
Apart from that he will also be able to guide you with the paperwork involved as well as protect many of your procedural rights. A good lawyer comes at a price, but the costs associated with a conviction on your record for a lifetime are significantly higher. So decide well!
To avoid a DUI arrest, it is always best to not drink and not drive. However, if you do find yourself behind the wheel after a couple of drinks and are stopped by a police officer, you will have to be smart in dealing with the situation to avoid an arrest. The above points should keep you from getting in trouble until you can get in touch with an attorney.