Summer is a time for barbecues, festivals and vacations from school and work. These events often go hand-in-hand with drinking or using other substances, so law enforcement agencies typically ramp up efforts to stop and arrest impaired drivers.
This summer is no different. However, there are ways you can protect yourself and keep a DUI from derailing your summer.
Know the facts
People make a lot of assumptions about DUI charges, and these misconceptions can lead to mistakes when driving or when speaking with police.
First, know that DUI charges include more than drinking and driving. Driving under the influence can also mean driving under the influence of marijuana, prescription drugs and other substances.
Further, understand that police can pull you over for almost any reason. These reasons include expired tabs, rolling through a stop or having a tail light out. You need not be swerving all over the road or crashing into vehicles for police to stop you.
With this in mind, you can recognize the importance of complying with traffic laws, maintaining your vehicle, and wearing your seat belt.
Know your rights
You have rights when police pull you over and arrest you, including the right to remain silent and the right to speak with an attorney. You also have the right to refuse a warrantless search of your car and submit to field sobriety tests.
If, at any point, you believe an officer violates your rights, you likely will not successfully challenge a rights violation on the side of the road. Try to stay calm and call an attorney as soon as possible.
Know your options
Critically, drivers have the option to avoid a DUI by seeking alternative modes of transportation if they have been drinking or using drugs. The cost of an Uber or Lyft is minimal compared to the risk of an accident or arrest.
That said, not everyone realizes they are impaired. People also make mistakes, including the police.
Because of this, it is crucial to know that you also have options if you do wind up charged with a DUI in the coming months. Defending yourself and working to minimize repercussions can protect your summer – and long afterward.