Is there a festival or wedding reception in your near future? What about your car? Have you recently checked it over to make sure all your turn signals, brake lights and other external instruments are functioning properly? Although these issues may not seem related on the surface, they all have one thing in common: any one of them places you at risk for a traffic stop by police. Add alcoholic beverages and after-hours driving to the mix, and the chance of a police officer stopping you increases even more.
It's often possible to avoid DUI in Pennsylvania by thinking ahead and making responsible driving choices. There are several other things, in addition to the aforementioned, that may help you stay safe and keep legal problems at bay. A key factor in staying out of trouble is making conscientious decisions.
Don't give police probable cause to stop you
Aside from the easiest way to avoid DUI, which is to not drive a car any time you consume alcohol, the following ideas may also prove beneficial any time you get behind the wheel:
- If you plan to drive, it's always best to make sure no safety equipment on your vehicle is malfunctioning. If a police officer notices a headlight out on your car or some other non-working apparatus, you are immediately at risk for a traffic stop.
- The way you drive is also crucial if you hope to avoid DUI. Any veering within your lane of traffic, coming too close to a curb or parked vehicle, or drifting over the yellow line gives police probable cause to suspect you of drunk driving.
- Intoxicated drivers often get into their cars and pull out of parking lots while forgetting to turn on their headlights at night. Even if you haven't had an alcoholic drink, if you do not adhere to traffic laws regarding headlight use, a police officer may want to investigate the situation further.
- Places like music festivals, professional sporting events or parties at reception halls are targeted locations when it comes to police making traffic stops. Especially if you exit one of these locations at night, if you do anything to draw a police officer's attention, you may spend your next hours trying to avoid DUI charges.
If a traffic stop occurs, it's best to be ready ahead of time. Know where your vehicle registration and proof of insurance cards are so you can access them without hesitation when the officer asks to see them. It's never a good idea to admit to anything; in fact, although you want to cooperate and be polite, you do not have to answer any questions beyond basic identification information without first obtaining legal representation.
DUI charges do not always lead to convictions. Many Pennsylvania drivers have successfully fought against drunk driving charges by acting alongside experienced defense attorneys in court.