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Don’t let a traffic stop prevent you from getting to class

You cruise down the street almost every day. You drive to the grocery store to get some food. Sometimes you meet up with your study group to prepare for the next big exam. Other times you drive to hang out with friends.

You never want to look in the rearview mirror and see flashing lights—especially on the way home from a party. Getting pulled over is something you never want to happen. At best, you spend ten to fifteen minutes sitting with the lights blinking behind you while the officer checks your paperwork. At worst, you could be accused of a crime.

Contrary to what some people believe, law enforcement officers must have a reason to pull you over. Officers pay attention to particular behaviors when they are watching over the safety of motorists.

These behaviors could lead officers to suspecting that you are under the influence.

  • Speed: It may seem like driving slower would be beneficial, but this can draw an officer’s attention. When drivers are under the influence they often over- correct and drive extra slow. If you drive fast, that is also a red flag.
  • Response time: When you are under the influence you have a slower reaction time.
  • Braking: Drivers under the influence over-compensate and are unable to correctly judge time and space. This results in rough, quick braking.
  • Lights: One of the major things officers look for is headlights at night. If you forget to turn on your headlights, there is a good chance you will be pulled over.

It is true that motorists not under the influence will display these behaviors. Sleep deprivation can cause many of these reactions. A blood alcohol content test is one way officers can determine if you are under the influence.

In Pennsylvania, the law identifies three tiers regarding blood alcohol content and driving under the influence.

  1. Tier 1 BAC ranges from .08-.099%
  2. Tier 2 BAC ranges from .10-.159%
  3. Tier 3 BAC is .16% and higher

If you have been pulled over under the suspicion of a DUI, you do have options. Field sobriety tests are often unreliable. Breath tests can produce faulty results. Officers can mistake your behaviors as being under the influence when you are not. If you have a medical condition or are sleep deprived, your behaviors may seem off-key. Always drive safe.

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