Why You Should Understand DUI Arrests
Definition of DUI
DUI stands for Driving under the Influence. This means you have consumed excess alcohol or taken drugs – other than those recommended by a doctor and don’t affect your normal functioning – that comprise your capability of driving a motor vehicle safely.
The level of drunkenness is gauged by measuring the concentration of alcohol in the blood, also known as blood-alcohol content (BAC). When this amount exceeds a given level, it becomes a criminal offense. The threshold levels are varied depending on the jurisdiction.
Negative effects of a DUI arrest
As a criminal offence, a DUI arrest brings lots of trouble, which can negatively impact on your finances, liberty and quality of life for many years. If convicted, your life will certainly be destroyed, especially considering the penalties that will be enforced on you by the court. This may affect your family, your friends, your current job and chances of future employment.
Consumption of drinks
Impairment is caused by the number of drinks you consume at a time because they normally remain in your body for a while. It is this BAC that is used by law officers when determining the intoxication level for a DUI arrest. For most people, three to four drinks can sufficiently reach this concentration and warrant arrest.
If stopped, pull over
There has to be a probable cause for a law officer to stop your vehicle. This means that you must have committed an offence under the vehicle code to be pulled over. If not, you can file a suppression motion through a lawyer and have the evidence dismissed.
If you are stopped, steer your vehicle to the road side and roll down the windows. It’s good to turn on your internal light and steady your hands on the steering wheel.
Stay calm and only look for your driving license and registration when asked by the officer.
Calmly answer the questions asked. Hostility is perceived as a sign of drunkenness, which may cause the officer to request a series of tests to determine probable impairment.
DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints, are set up by law officers to search for impaired drivers. Checkpoints are placed along highways, mostly during holidays because that’s when there is high abuse of alcohol. Police follow neutral procedures when stopping cars, like every vehicle, or every fifth vehicle, and check for signs of drunkenness.
If suspected of drinking, field sobriety tests are conducted. Tests include, standing on one leg, straight line walking, or your eyes following a pen. Further, a chemical test may be done with your consent. This test uses a breathalyzer that measures the BAC.
Before carrying out the chemical test, the officer is required to deliver an “implied consent warning”.
On being arrested
When arrested, the officer is required to read you the Miranda rights, the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
Legalities – before the court
After testing and obtaining the chemical evidence of your intoxication level, you may either be set free or booked in jail. If booked, you are required to post bail or see a judge.
Penalties for a DUI conviction
- Suspending your driving license
- Heavy fines
- Jail time
- Canceling your auto insurance
- Conviction is reported to your employer or landlord
- You lose the ability to hold a commercial drivers’ license
Contacting a DUI lawyer
The laws concerning DUI arrest are very complex, because each case is unique.
Over the years, these laws have gradually been made severe, confusing both lay persons and the lawyers who occasionally handle such cases. You need expert lawyers with experience when in such a situation.