Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. If you are charged with a DUI, contact your attorney
If you are a young man in America in the habit of practicing night game, you may find yourself driving to and from bars and clubs if no other alternative is available. Unfortunately, driving at night in modern America entails a much higher likelihood of a traffic stop by law enforcement regardless of whether or not you’ve actually been drinking.
The short answer is if you can avoid night driving nowadays, don’t do it—take a cab, Lyft, Uber, or better yet, move to a large city where the transportation options as well as girl/guy ratio are more in your favor.
If you are not living in a big city, taxis, subways, buses and shared ride services are unfortunately rarely available. Many people therefore take the risk and drive at statistically the worst possible time in terms of risk of a vehicle stop. Do not underestimate chances of a DUI arrest, as they can still happen even when you are stone cold sober – yours truly experienced this firsthand many years ago.
It’s happened to plenty of others also. So what’s a guy to do if he’s got no other choice, wants to have one *maybe* two beers at a night venue and still be able to survive a DUI stop? I will not advocate breaking the law, but here are some possible courses of action if you get pulled over:
1. Booze stinks
The police officer will more than likely smell the beverage, especially beer, the minute you roll down the window. It doesn’t do you any favors to admit that you’ve been drinking even one sip, in case you were wondering—you are not required to provide evidence for your own prosecution.
Regardless, if he’s been working nights, you are not his first DUI stop and he’s probably got a lot of pressure from his supervisor to make X number of DUI arrests per month. Police departments do not call these targets quotas, but “performance standards” which they will get an ass chewing if they do not meet. Cities and towns make a lot of money off of traffic stops, particularly DUI arrests, either directly or through matching federal funds.
On the monetary side, a first offense can cost you at least $3,000 not including attorneys fees. Much of that money goes to fines, court costs (a fancy way of saying a tax), diversion programs, Mothers Against Drunk Driving-affiliated organizations, and other eager hands in the till. Don’t be their piggy bank.
Oh – why did he stop you? Look for things like “unsafe movement,” “defective equipment,” and other convenient lines of nonsense on the docket sheet if you are charged. And yes, if it gets to court your lawyer should subpoena the dash-cam footage. In fact, I firmly believe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to install a dash-cam in your car and I eagerly await the day when they are at least available as options on new cars, but that’s a story for another article.
2. Don’t do the roadside circus act for him
Since the police officer smells booze (and sometimes even if he does not), he will order you out of your car sooner or later. Yes, you are required to get out when he tells you to. He will then likely ask you to perform a series of roadside sobriety tests. But notice the language here – he is ASKING you to do these exercises.
Remember, if it’s reached this point, the police officer is already planning to arrest you. His mind is made up; for the moment he just wants to gather more evidence and his requesting your assistance in doing so. Since you never actually “pass” these tests anyway, you should politely decline.
The next step will be the breathalyzer, either roadside or at the station. It is up to whether to take the breathalyzer, as a refusal usually involves an immediate administrative suspension of your license and perhaps other penalties, depending upon your state. Check yours, but I’d say not driving for a year or more beats a DUI conviction any day. You only had a couple? You can probably pass, right? Read on.
3. The breathalyzer is a Ouija board
If you decide to take the breathalyzer test, keep in mind the police officer is trained to use the machine in ways which will not benefit you as a defendant. One popular breathalyzer still in use at many police stations is an older model which literally has the CPU of a mid-1980s Radio Shack computer.
The manufacturer is very tight-lipped about the manual for this machine, but a good attorney should know how to exploit holes in the training and testing regimen, maintenance procedures, calibration data, and possible errors and any omissions by the officer.
4. Can you pass?
While taking the breathalyzer, you may notice the police officer is always saying “blow, blow, blow….” during the test. This isn’t because you’re so drunk you’ve forgotten how to exhale, but because the police officer has been trained to have you keep blowing well beyond what is necessary to obtain an accurate blood alcohol reading.
Remember, whether you are truly drunk depends upon your BLOOD alcohol level. The breathalyzer actually measures alcohol on your BREATH. Provided you really only had two or three drinks and enough time has passed, you could actually have a situation where your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit of .08 but the stale air in the deepest darkest passages of your lungs still has residual alcohol left in it.
Police officers know this and other little secrets and will exploit it beyond what the machine requires for a reading. For example, they are required to observe you for 15 minutes (sometimes longer) before administering the test, but they won’t tell you that the 15 minute clock must be reset to zero every time the suspect coughs or burps in order to eliminate a false positive.
Similarly, hyperventilating right before you give a breath sample and pushing every last bit of breath out of your lungs right before you take the test may help clear your lungs of any residual alcohol and provide a more accurate reading. If they protest your exhaling strenuously right before you give a breath sample, kindly inform them that you are doing your level best to provide an accurate reading for their case – who wouldn’t want that?
Just a few thoughts, should you decide to roll the dice and take the breathalyzer test. If you fail the breathalyzer, as soon as possible find the BEST lawyer in the jurisdiction who handles DUIs and actually goes to trial and knows the subject, not just some solo hack loser who wants to cut a deal and take your money.
5. You just got branded
If you pass the breathalyzer, congratulations. You now have a baseless drunk driving arrest record that you will have to explain to future employers even though you were not drunk at the time of arrest. As a bonus, when you drive down the road and a cop scans your plate in the future, yep – that arrest will still show up on your record.
The arrest is just that – an arrest, nothing more. Even if you were not convicted, it does not change the fact you were arrested for the charge specified. Unfortunately people, especially cops, rarely care about the difference between what you were arrested for and the actual outcome of the case. Hell, it might even show up with your picture on some scumbag’s web site where you have to pay him to take it down.
It sucks, but good luck ever getting rid of that permanent tattoo on your record. Might want to think about that move to the Ukraine. What about the reason for the initial stop? They’ll probably let that go unless it was speeding or something more serious – the stop was just to get you out of the car. You’re supposed to be happy at not getting a ticket and passing the DUI, but if you passed the breathalyzer, the whole thing was an obvious scam – the cop was fishing.
DUI arrests, speeding tickets and motor vehicle infractions generally are coveted sources of revenue for governments big and small which never seem to get enough money. Given this, one has to wonder where we might be headed when self-driving cars are perfected.
Contrary to fears about living in a police state, self driving cars could actually increase liberty and privacy, as they take away the temptation for a police officer to abuse discretion in order to make an arrest. This advancement will revolutionize night time entertainment at bars, clubs and restaurants once people are no longer afraid to consume even one beer before heading out for the night.
Couple this with already popular dash-cams becoming ubiquitous and there won’t be a lot of wiggle room for a cop to bend the rules to meet an arbitrary “performance standard” set by their dickhead boss in response to local political and fiscal pressures. Governments, MADD, AA and all other beneficiaries of the current racket should be happy to see DUIs go away, but I suspect a different reaction to come when their collection plate runs dry.
Read More: You Can Now Be Arrested For Bad Game