Anyone can get a DUI. In many cases, it's not a pattern of behavior. It's just one night when someone had a little too much to drink. That single mistake can lead to charges that will cost them an incredible amount of money and that can haunt them for years.
After all, you have to look at more than just the initial fines. What do you need to pay in court fees? Do you miss time at work after an arrest? Could you lose your job? Does losing your license mean you can't work or can't get a new job? Do you have to pay more for car insurance? The expense of a DUI can go far beyond the first fines you see.
Police need a reason to stop you
One thing to remember is that the police need a reason to stop you. Random stops are illegal. Even if they see you leaving a bar at 2 a.m., they cannot just assume you're drunk and pull you over. Maybe you were the designated driver for your friends. Maybe you don't drink, but you wanted to spend time with people from work. They don't know. They cannot pull you over without a reason just to find out if you're intoxicated -- especially since there is so much at stake, as noted above.
So, what will the police look for? Here are some signs of a possible drunk driver:
- Not turning on the headlights at night
- Driving on both sides of the centerline
- Stopping too soon before a stop sign or a light
- Stopping when there is no reason to do so at all
- Accelerating too quickly
- Tailgating another car
- Weaving back and forth on the road
- Turning without a turn signal
- Going far over or under the speed limit
- Making slow, wide turns
- Driving erratically
- Signaling one direction and turning the other direction
- Appearing to take a drink while in the car
- Driving the wrong way down a one-way road
- Driving somewhere that is not even a road -- such as a median or a wide sidewalk
- Almost getting into an accident
As you can see, some of these are pretty major signs, like driving the wrong direction or almost crashing. Many, however, are far more minor. If you roll through a stop sign or simply forget to turn on your lights, that can be enough for a completely legal traffic stop. If you accidentally had a bit too much to drink, you could find yourself on the way to jail.
Your legal options
If this happens, remember the impact it can have on your future. Make sure you know what legal defense options you have.