Getting a conviction for DUI can be a really tough experience. It is financially draining, results in higher insurance costs, creates a black mark in your record and can even affect your career prospects.
The easiest way to avoid a DUI charge is to never drink and drive. This could mean no after-work socializing, no wine with meals, sticking to soft drinks at parties and occasionally skipping get-togethers with friends. This is easier said than done.
DUI charges are often levelled against drivers who have alcohol level below the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) in their blood. If the police officer claims that you were impaired, the only additional evidence that a court requires is a measure of some amount of alcohol in blood to convict you.
Responsible driving and sensible behavior around police at a stop will help you avoid DUI charge and stay away from hefty fines.
Here are a few ways in which you can avoid DUI charges and stay safe on the road
Make Sure You Do the Right Thing
It is necessary you know what your level of alcohol tolerance is. Ensure you do not drink beyond that because you will be impaired.
If you are with a bunch of friends, then the driving duty should be taken up by one who can safely drop off the others. It is important that you think these things through in advance because drunk driving without doubt puts many lives at risk.
Or better still, arrange for a cab to pick and drop off your group so that all can have a great time without worrying about DUI.
Know Your Drinks
All drinks do not have the same alcohol content and the effects they have on your body also differ. Low-alcohol drinks have alcohol by volume (ABV) value of 1.2% or lower. Since the concentration of alcohol is lesser you ingest lesser quantities of alcohol into your system.
Reduced-alcohol drinks are not the same as low-alcohol variants. In the former alcohol content is lower than the average found in drinks of the same type or brand. They may have ABV much higher than 1.2% which does not do much to keep your BAC in the safe zone. In Illinois BAC of .08% and higher is considered legally drunk.
Low-alcohol or low-strength alternatives work well when you limit your intake to the same number of drinks you usually have. There is less of alcohol that your liver has to process and remove from the bloodstream, to bring your BAC down to legal level.
Women have lower alcohol tolerance because of lesser quantities of alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes in the body. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down spirits in the stomach thereby controlling the amount of alcohol that gets into the bloodstream. This is also why women take longer than men to sober down after a party. So be careful with the strength and number of drinks you consume if you plan to drive home post -party.
Non-alcoholic wine and beer are other options which do not contain alcohol at all and are your best bet if you want to stay in the safe zone. Alcohol-free drinks contain a very small amount of alcohol at a concentration of .05% or lesser and if you do not limit your drinks they can add up in no time.
Do Not Invite Trouble
The law has done its part to protect Americans from wrongful DUI convictions. It’s up to you to make smart and wise use of your rights and avoid the headaches that come with a DUI charge.
Officers need a probable cause to make a traffic stop. Ensure that you are driving safely and there are no obvious violations. If your car has burnt out lights, unrepaired body damage, tinted windows, non-working signal lights or brake lights, loud exhaust pipes or any other characteristics that warrant unwanted attention, be sure that officers will stop you.
Driving too slow, jumping stop lights, failing to turn when signal lights are on, over-speeding and poor maneuvering all signal an impaired driver. If there is nothing suspicious, you are driving well and the vehicle is well-maintained then the chances of getting stopped for enforcement purposes are almost nil.
If you are driving through familiar areas skip routes that have a concentration of bars, nightclubs, pubs and taverns because DUI and traffic stops will be higher here. Low-traffic routes typically have lesser enforcement activity.
Be Aware of Your Rights
If an officer stops you do not try to speed past him, that will only worsen the situation. Be polite and pull over in a well-lit area preferably on the right-hand side of the road. Keep your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them.
Show necessary papers like your license, registration and insurance card, and be polite in your interactions. If you are required to take field sobriety tests do not comply because in Illinois, law requires your consent to voluntarily perform the preliminary tests even if you are not arrested on a DUI charge. These are field sobriety tests based on which the officer establishes grounds for a DUI arrest. Even if you refuse, the officer can still arrest you if he has a reason to believe you were drinking.
After the arrest you will be required to take further tests to prove impairment from drinking. The officer will warn you that your license will be suspended if you refuse the tests, but if this is your first arrest you can avoid the tests because the penalty is milder than that for DUI conviction.
A person can be convicted for DUI even after refusing blood, urine and breathalyzer tests. The prosecution can argue that you refused because you were intoxicated and provide other supporting evidence.
Drivers who remain silent at and during a DUI stop/arrest have better chances of resolving their case successfully.
At the stop, furnish your documents and keep mum. Do not respond to invasive questioning and if it persists ask for a lawyer. Do not consent to searches on your person, or in your vehicle or any personal property.
A DUI defense attorney, DuPage County IL will be able to protect your constitutional rights and save you from a DUI conviction. It is important that you prove that you were not driving under the influence of alcohol and that you did not pose a threat to road safety or human lives, including your own. An experienced DUI attorney can help you do that.
Drinking and driving do not mix, so keep them separate. If you drink responsibly, drive safely and behave sensibly at traffic stops then the chances of getting on the wrong side of law are limited. But if there arises a problem, an experienced DUI attorney will be able to provide you all the necessary help.