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3 times you might be charged with drunk driving

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Drunk driving

Drunk driving charges are serious events in a person’s life because they can have long-term effects, especially if the person is convicted. A conviction means dealing with fines, license suspension and other consequences.

The following are the three most common circumstances under which individuals are charged with impaired driving in the U.S.

Sobriety checkpoints and DUI charges

Sobriety checkpoints, also known as DUI checkpoints, are a common method that law enforcement uses to catch drivers under the influence. At these checkpoints, officers stop vehicles based on a predetermined pattern, such as every third car, rather than probable cause or suspicion of intoxication.

Drivers are briefly interviewed, and if an officer suspects alcohol or drug use, further testing, such as a breathalyzer test or field sobriety tests, may be conducted. It’s essential to understand that sobriety checkpoints must adhere to specific legal criteria, including public notice and a clear operational plan.

Signs of drunk driving and legal implications

Law enforcement officers are trained to spot signs of impaired driving that may lead to a stop and, potentially, a drunk driving charge. Common indicators include swerving, speeding, making illegal turns, stopping abruptly or driving too slowly. Once officers observe such behavior, they can pull the vehicle over for a closer inspection.

If the officer detects signs of intoxication, they can conduct field sobriety tests or use breathalyzers to measure blood alcohol content (BAC). A BAC level at or above the legal limit of 0.08% results in a DUI charge. Even if a driver’s BAC is below the legal limit, they can still be charged with DUI if their ability to drive safely is impaired.

DUI charges stemming from accidents

When a driver is involved in a wreck, law enforcement thoroughly investigates the cause. If there are signs that one of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this can lead to immediate DUI charges. The implications become even more severe if the accident results in property damage, injuries or fatalities.

Fighting a drunk driving charge can be a complex undertaking. Working with a legal representative familiar with these matters is generally wise, accordingly. There is simply too much at stake to “DIY” an impaired driving defense strategy.