If you are a typical motorist, one of the things you dread the most about driving is looking in your rearview mirror and seeing flashing lights behind you. At best, those flashing light mean a minor inconvenience and an expensive ticket. If you indulged in a couple of glasses of wine or drank a couple of beers before getting behind the wheel, however, those flashing lights could be a prelude to a night in jail. Often, the manner in which a driver handles a traffic stop dictates the outcome of the stop. Obviously, if you are severely inebriated you are going to jail. Likewise, if you blew through a red light going 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, you are getting a ticket. It is often the case, however, that an officer has discretion with regard to the consequences of a traffic stop. With that in mind, a Cass County DUI lawyer explains what you should and should not do during a traffic stop to help decrease the potential negative consequences of the stop.
Most people know that a law enforcement officer has some discretion when it comes to writing tickets during a traffic stop. If you are lucky, you have been given a warning ticket instead of an actual ticket for a traffic violation at some point in your life. That same discretion can apply in situations where a motorist has clearly consumed some alcohol, but is not “three sheets to the wind.” The driving under the influence (DUI) law in the State of Nebraska makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher OR “while under the influence of alcoholic liquor or of any drug.” This means that it is possible to be convicted of DUI even if your BAC level is not over 0.08 percent. It also leaves room for discretion on the part of a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop if the officer has reason to believe the motorist has been drinking but the motorist does not appear to be drunk.
What Can You Do to Tip the Scales in Your Favor during a Traffic Stop?
The best way to avoid the possibility of being arrested for DUI is to refrain from consuming any alcohol before driving. That being said, if you do find yourself being pulled over after consuming a drink or two, there are some things you can do that may help you get out of the stop without a trip to jail, including:
- Be respectful – the number one rule during any traffic stop is to be respectful. The officer is just doing his/her job. Now is the time to use those manners you mother taught you. For example, refer to the officer as “officer” or “sir/mam.”
- Cooperate – this is not the time to argue about why you were stopped. If you are asked to roll down the window, put your hands on the steering wheel, or hang up your phone, it is in your best interest to comply.
- Have your license etc. handy – this is a good general rule of thumb. Having to search for your registration or insurance information while the officer stands there waiting is irritating at best, and makes you appear intoxicated at worst. Keep all relevant documents together and within easy reach.
- Don’t lie – this is a tricky one. “Don’t lie” doesn’t always mean blurt out the entire truth. There is no need to offer incriminating answers or information; however, if it is obvious you consumed some alcohol, saying you haven’t had anything to drink will likely irritate the officer.
- Be ready to leave your vehicle – it cases where an officer is undecided about arresting a motorist for DUI, one factor that can sway the officer one way or the other is whether there is another viable plan for the driver and vehicle. The officer may not be comfortable allowing you to continue to drive; however, does not feel that arresting you is necessarily mandated. Offering to walk home, or having a sober driver you can call to come and get you can make all the difference. If your vehicle is not parked, it may have to be towed. Be prepared for that and be thankful all you will be facing in the morning is a tow bill instead of spending the night stressing over bond money, criminal charges, and a tow bill.
Contact a Cass County DUI Lawyer
If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Cass County, Nebraska, contact a Cass County DUI lawyer at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.