Every driver with a valid driver’s license is expected to be up to date with the laws guiding the use of the road. Traffic laws have been designed with the intent to keep all road users safe. However, in some cases, due to carelessness, drivers may flout these laws. One of the biggest problems for drivers is the law that clashes with their lifestyle, that is, laws that impose certain limitations on what they can do. As a driver, it is expected that you should not be drunk and driving.
DUI laws are designed to ensure that drivers who are operating vehicles or other heavy machinery are in a sound mental state to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. When it comes to DUI offenses, there are certain things you need to know as these will prove effective in deciding whether or not you are guilty of the traffic violation which you have been pulled over for and whether you will be in need of a criminal defense attorney. To better understand DUI and the implication of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels in the body, below are some of the information you need to be familiar with.
The Blood Alcohol Concentration measurement is a general and agreed upon indices that help the states across the United States to determine whether or not a driver has been driving under the influence and the extent of their inebriation. Each state has its legal limit which has been set for BAC levels.
The BAC measures the amount of alcohol in the blood of the driver and this can be used to gauge how capable the driver is of making wise decisions when driving. Different equipment is used to measure the BAC content and in some cases, some can measure accurately the alcohol content in the blood anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour after the driver had consumed the alcoholic beverage.
The BAC level is not affected by the brand or type of alcoholic beverage consumed although there are a number of factors that can affect the reading. Generally, a higher BAC is associated with a high consumption of alcoholic beverages. In addition, a person who consumes alcoholic beverages too fast will also have a higher BAC level.
In addition, the BAC level may also be affected by whether the consumer has food in his or her stomach. A consumer who has had a large meal and topped it off with a glass of wine will have a lower BAC compared to one that hasn’t had anything to eat but just the same quantity of wine.
Gender may also play a significant role in the BAC level as women generally have a smaller frame which makes it easier for their BAC levels to rise compared to men who are generally of a bigger frame. It is important to note that your BAC level is not a reflection of how you think you feel as in some cases; two glasses of wine may spike your BAC level to as high as 0.02% while you still feel in control of the decisions you are making.
Basis For A DUI Stop
It is important for every driver to understand that a police officer cannot just pull them over based on desire or whim. It is important that the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that such a driver must have been driving inebriated. Some of the reasons why a driver may be flagged down on suspicion include swerving on the road, speeding, running red lights and others.
The officer in some cases may stop you for other traffic violations and based on this may establish that you may have been driving under the influence. If this happens, then you may be taken in for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If, on the other hand, the officer does not have a reasonable traffic violation or reason to have stopped you, this can be used as a defense to get the case suppressed.
DUI Stops: Establishing BAC as basis for DUI
Drivers may be pulled over for a number of reasons ranging from speeding, running a red light, or in some cases, on suspicion that the driver may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. If you happen to have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, chances are high that you may become agitated instantly. However, it is recommended that you remain calm throughout the conversation period with the officer. While being calm, it is also recommended that you stay polite and answer all the questions asked appropriately.
It is recommended that you stay polite even when you know you have done nothing wrong. The officer is obligated to ask some questions which may include a demand for your license and registration. In addition to this, you may be asked some other questions which you are not obligated to answer.
During the stop, the police officer may be able to gauge his or her suspicions as to whether you are driving drunk or not. If the police officer’s suspicion is heightened through the driver’s slurred speech, redness of the eyes, strong alcoholic odor, or other physical indicators, he or she may request that the driver exits the vehicle and perform a field sobriety test.
The police officer may also seek to establish the driver’s BAC through the use of a breathalyzer. If a driver’s breathalyzer result reads any value higher than the legal limit which is set for most states as 0.08%, he or she may be arrested for drunk driving.
Refusing The DUI Test
If you have been stopped for one traffic violation or the other, the police officer may decide to go for a DUI arrest which can only be made after it has been established that your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit. However, in some cases, drivers may wish to protest this test as it can establish that they have indeed been driving under the influence.
If you intend to refuse the field sobriety test, then, you need to know the consequences you stand to face for towing this path. While the police officers use a Field Sobriety test and chemical test to establish the blood alcohol concentration, it is important that a driver knows why he or she is refusing them. In most states, the chemical test is compulsory while the field sobriety test is deemed unreliable.
If you are refusing the test based on the unreliability of the field sobriety test, then you will be faced with penalties. A driver who has refused to subject himself or herself to this test will generally have his or her license suspended for a certain period. In some cases, the suspension may last for up to six months or a year. It is also important to note that refusal to take the test does not necessarily exonerate the driver from DUI prosecution as the police may decide to press further charges which may, in turn, lead to harsher punishments.