Driving home from a night out with friends the last thing on your mind is to being pulled over. Make sure you are prepared by understanding what you can expect during a police stop and what your rights are if you are suspected of driving under the influence.
If a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle is compromised by drugs or alcohol the charge is a DUI/DWI. In practice that is determined by a standard blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). In many states underage drivers can be charged with a DUI/DWI with any BAC, even one below the legal limit.
Most drivers don’t expect DUI/DWI checkpoints and are confused to see them. At a checkpoint every driver is stopped and asked a few routine questions. Most drivers pass through the checkpoint with only a few minutes of delay.
If the officers suspect a driver is under the influence the driver is given a road test. At this point the experience is the same a traffic stop.
Road Test and Chemical Tests
Police officers need probable cause to arrest a driver for a DUI. Officers gather cause through observation, sobriety tests and chemical tests. Mentioning that you have had a few drinks with friends is a poor idea and gives the officer cause to arrest you. Keep yourself and any passengers quiet and respectful.
Road tests typically include coordination tests such as touching your finger to your nose or walking in a straight line. A road test is not required, and it is in your best interests to politely refuse this subjective test. However, you should submit to a breathalyzer. In most states refusing a breathalyzer is probable cause for arrest or will alternately lead to a license suspension.