Drinking And Driving? What Happens After You Get Stopped
If you have a few drinks out with friends or at dinnertime and then plan to get into your vehicle to drive home, you may be making a fatal mistake. Besides the fact that you have an increased risk at having an accident or injuring yourself or others, you also risk being pulled over by police or going through a checkpoint. Here is what would happen if you happen to get caught drinking and driving when you have had too much to get behind the wheel:
How Much Is Too Much?
Each state has different accepted blood alcohol content levels that are set before you would be breaking a law. In most cases, having one or two drinks maximum over the course of two hours would keep you underneath the limit. If you do not eat, or if you have a low tolerance level for alcohol since you do not drink it often, your blood alcohol content may be higher than someone else that has had a meal or that drinks more often. Weight also comes into play.
If you feel worried about driving, the best advice is to get a ride from someone else. It is not worth risking your life, someone else's life, or your license over driving home after drinking. Call a cab or ask a friend for a ride.
Getting Pulled Over
If you don't take the advice and decide to get in the vehicle to drive away and a police officer pulls you over, you will be questioned and observed to see if you are acting suspicious or under the influence. If the police officer can smell alcohol, or if you are not acting as a normal person would after getting pulled over, they will ask you to get out of your vehicle to perform a series of tasks.
They may ask you to recite the alphabet or stand on one foot for an extended period. These tasks are used to observe your reaction and see if you have difficulty in your performance. If you have trouble, you may be asked to breath into a breathalyzer device to see if your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit.
Drunk Driving - Now What?
If your have a high number after blowing into the device, you will be taken to the local police station to be held until you are sober enough to be released. You will need to call someone to come get you from the police station. You will then receive a court appearance date to plead your case in front of a judge. If this happens, you will need to hire a DUI attorney to speak in your defense.
If the machinery was faulty or if you were taken to the police station without a breathalyzer test being given, you may be able to plead not guilty. Your attorney will go over all points from the time you were pulled over to see if there is anything they can do to help you.
What Is The Punishment?
The punishment you get for drinking and driving will vary depending on state laws, the judge in charge of your case, your defense, and any prior arrests. The judge will ultimately be in charge of your punishment. Many states have mandatory jail sentences from a few days to a few years depending on the severity of the incident.
You may also have to pay fines and do community service. Counseling will most likely be ordered and you will most likely lose your license for months or years. You will need to see a probation officer and have routine alcohol and drug tests to make sure you are not drinking or frequenting establishments that serve liquor.