We’re all human, and humans make mistakes. Someone has a few too many drinks, they are feeling confident, and they think they are in the right state of mind and body to drive home safely, even though they are not. It happens.
The definition of driving under the influence, or DUI, is driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or another controlled substance. This means a person is driving a vehicle while intoxicated or impaired. DUI might be defined as “driving while intoxicated,” or DWI, in some states.
The biggest words here are “intoxicated” and “impaired,” since all states have their own limit for what this means. One drink out with friends will not put a person over the limit in most states, but this is important for all adults over the legal drinking age of 21 to understand. In the state of Louisiana, for example, the blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08%.
Regardless of the acronyms, this is a serious, dangerous driving situation and is a criminal driving offense in every state in the United States.
There are many signs of a driver operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs:
- Swerving of a vehicle
- Inconsistencies in speed
- Lack of signaling
- Switching lanes sporadically
If a person is pulled over by a police officer who suspects a DUI situation, there are a few things to expect.
Police Lights and Potential Announcement to Pull Over
When a police officer needs to pull a vehicle over, they will put on their colored flashing lights and pull behind the vehicle in question. Sometimes a quick siren burst will be added as a warning, or the person driving the vehicle might even hear a verbal announcement to “pull over.”
Pulling the Vehicle to the Side of the Road
A driver should pull their vehicle all the way onto the shoulder or off to the side of the road so as not to block traffic or cause a safety issue. The police vehicle will pull directly behind the vehicle pulled over. A driver should turn off the vehicle and stay seated in the car.
Staying Seated and Being Polite
Everything in the event of being pulled over by a police officer is recorded, so staying calm, polite, and in your vehicle is important. It might be a few minutes before a police officer approaches a pulled-over vehicle because they are usually running license plate information or getting documentation gathered on their end first.
When a police officer approaches the vehicle, the driver should roll down the window and stay seated. The driver should talk to the police officer rationally, and will likely be asked for proof of a driver’s license and vehicle insurance, which should be readily available.
Field Questions and Sobriety Tests Are Optional
In the event that a police officer asks a driver pulled over for a suspected DUI additional questions or asks them to step out of their car for a sobriety test, the driver is within their rights to refuse. Everything a driver is saying and doing is being recorded, and responding to questions and completing a drug or alcohol test is optional. A driver can politely decline, but a police officer that is suspicious of DUI behavior is still able to arrest on site. Also, many states punish people for not taking sobriety tests by automatically revoking licenses upon refusal.
Stepping Out of the Car and Being Placed Under Arrest
If a police officer truly believes a driver is putting themselves and others at risk and driving under the influence, they are able to arrest that driver and bring them to jail. A police officer might ask a driver to step out of the vehicle, turn around, place their hands behind their back, and submit to being handcuffed. Again, this is all being recorded, so the more calm a person is under arrest, the better for any future interactions with the court and judge.
It does not matter whether you are in fact innocent, a police officer can arrest you for a DUI without a breath test or field sobriety test. At any time, you can request to call an attorney.
You Have Rights
While nobody should ever put other people or themselves at risk, we understand unfortunate events happen. If you are ever in a situation where you have been pulled over for a DUI, we recommend staying as calm and polite as possible and avoid escalating the situation. While we are not lawyers, it is important to remember that you have legal rights and you do not need to answer questions or submit to testing without a lawyer present.
We Are Available 24/7
At A Right Choice Bail Bonds, our agents are here to help the residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the event of an arrest for driving under the influence.
Please contact us with any questions, and we also offer free consultations. You can also stop by our office in Lake Charles. We’re open 24/7.