Socializing with friends out at restaurants, sporting events, and barbeques is a common event, especially on the weekends and holidays. When spending time having fun, you may be inclined to indulge in a few alcoholic beverages. If contemplating drinking while out, remember that getting home might come with certain pitfalls, especially if you get stopped by the cops. Here are three tips to keep in mind when facing a DUI stop.
1. The Stop
When the police happen upon a driver drifting between the lane lines, increasing and decreasing speed, or driving erratically, there’s a good chance that driver will get pulled over. When the cops approach your car, they will:
- Observe your behavior – is it suspicious?
- Smell your breath – is there an odor of alcohol?
- Check your eyes – are your pupils dilated?
These initial observations are enough for the police to proceed with the stop.
2. The Blood Alcohol Content Test
At this point, the police suspect the driver of being under the influence. They will either go into field sobriety testing or ask the driver to take a blood or breath test to determine how impaired he or she is. It is critical to understand that you can refuse to take either test, but know that you will then find yourself in a further predicament. Refusing to take a BAC test may result in:
Immediate arrest – the police will apply for a warrant to take your blood
Suspension of driver’s license – you obtained your license subject to your compliance with this testing.
An Alameda DUI lawyer can help if you find yourself in this situation.
3. Field Sobriety Tests
The police also conduct field sobriety tests to evaluate further the level at which the driver is impaired. These are a variety of physical tests that are meant to demonstrate how much a person is affected by the substance. Remember, these tests can also be used to determine someone is under the influence of narcotics as well.
The most common field sobriety tests utilized by the police are:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus – tests the way your eyes react to light
- One leg stand – indicates your loss of balance
- Walk and turn – tests coordination as well as mental faculties
Knowing what to expect if you are ever stopped under suspicion of DUI helps you to remain calm. Of course, the best way to not worry about a stop is always to designate a sober driver to haul you home at the end of the event.