A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to a criminal record, fines, license suspension and incarceration.
There is a lot of misinformation around, so understanding the facts can reduce the chance of legal problems.
Fact 1: The police must have reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop
Before law enforcement pulls over a car, there must be reasonable suspicion that a crime is, or was, being committed. For example, an officer may pull over a driver for speeding or because their license plate is expired. An officer may have reasonable suspicion that a driver is drunk if the officer sees the driver swerving or running lights.
Fact 2: You can avoid self-incrimination
The police may ask drivers what they were doing or if they had been drinking. This helps the police gather evidence. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to refuse to answer any questions as answering questions truthfully could increase the chance you are charged, even if you are well under the limit.
Fact 3: Breath tests are not always accurate
Drivers who take breath tests will blow into a small machine. The machine will then read the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC). If their BAC is above the legal limit, they will face a DUI charge. Yet these machines are not always correct, especially if they lack calibration, and even a slight error could push you over the legal limit. If you fail a breath test, you can look for ways to challenge its reading afterward.
If you face DUI charges, it is essential to learn more about your defense options.