Being pulled over for a traffic violation can be a stressful experience for anyone, and it only becomes more so if the police officer suspects the driver is impaired. It can be confusing to understand what’s happening and what to expect. That’s why, in this article, McClintock Law will explain what happens when a driver gets pulled over for a suspected DUI.
In the process of being arrested for a probable DUI, there are multiple steps that drivers should be aware of and know how to follow.
- Traffic Stop: A police officer will pull over a driver for a traffic violation, erratic driving, or a tip from someone.
- Field Sobriety Test: The police officer may request that the driver takes a field sobriety test to gauge how intoxicated they are.
- Breathalyzer Test: This test will gauge the driver’s BAC level and determine if it is over legal limits.
- Arrest: If the driver’s BAC is above legal limits or they have probable cause, the police officer will arrest the driver and bring them in to be booked.
- Court Appearance: Eventually, the driver will be required to make a court appearance to determine their guilt and the repercussions of their actions.
- Personal Life: A DUI conviction can alter an individual’s personal and social life because of the negative stigma surrounding DUIs.
What Happens in a DUI Traffic Stop?
The first thing that happens in a DUI traffic stop is that a police officer will signal a driver to pull over. A police officer may pull a driver over for several different reasons. First, they could have pulled the driver over for a traffic violation. Second, the police officer saw the individual driving erratically. Third, they may have gotten a tip from another driver. These three reasons are all probable cause for a police officer to pull over an individual.
It is important to note that a police officer is unable to pull someone over without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. For example, the police officer would have had to witness the individual doing something suspicious such as weaving erratically in between lanes. However, a police officer can pull a driver over if they have received a tip from someone. If the driver suspects that the police officers pulled them over without probable cause, it is important that they contact a reputable DUI lawyer to help explain their rights and defend the driver in court.
What Happens in a Field Sobriety Test?
In a traffic stop where the driver is suspected of driving while under the influence, the police officer will most likely ask the driver to take a field sobriety test. Police officers use these tests to determine whether or not a driver is impaired due to drugs or alcohol. These tests can include walking in a straight line, standing on one foot, or following a small object, like a pen, with only their eyes. It is important to know that in Illinois field sobriety tests are voluntary and drivers can refuse to take them. In fact, a driver should consider refusing to take a sobriety test as the results may only further incriminate them, not exonerate them.
What Happens in a Breathalyzer Test?
Besides a field sobriety test, a police officer may also have a driver take a breathalyzer test. A breath test is a chemical test that police officers use to determine a driver’s BAC (blood alcohol content). An Illinois driver is under the influence if their BAC gets to 0.08 or above. Any information the police officer gathers about the driver’s BAC can and will be used against them if they go to court. The repercussions for refusing to take one can be severe, and it can include the driver having their license suspended for up to one year.
What is an Arrest for a DUI like?
If a driver’s BAC is high enough to show that they’re driving while intoxicated, the police officer will arrest them and read their Miranda rights. At this time, drivers under arrest will be taken to the station to be processed and booked. This normally involves having a mugshot and fingerprints taken. In Illinois, the driver is released with a court hearing date and a notification that their license will be suspended. While preparing for their court hearing, the driver should contact a DUI lawyer to help them prepare for their case. This is important in order to fully understand what is going to happen and how to best handle the situation.
What to Expect in a DUI Court Appearance.
After the arrest, the individual will need to report to the date arranged for a court appearance. This court appearance, or appearances, are to determine the guilt of the individual in question. After the verdict is determined, the judge will then rule on the consequences the individual will face. This can include how long their license is suspended, fines, and potential jail time. During this step, it is crucial that the individual has a lawyer present to help them understand and work through the DUI charge.
How Can a DUI Affect My Life?
When someone is arrested for a DUI, it does not only lead to potential legal consequences, but it could affect the individual’s personal and social life. Part of this is attributed to the social stigma surrounding DUIs. A DUI convocation can lead to strained relationships with family and friends, feelings of public embarrassment, and loss of employment.
When someone is charged with a DUI, it can often strain previous relationships. This happens because family and friends will no longer view the driver in the same way. On occasion, their view of the person will change and for some, it can be incredibly difficult to work past this issue. Furthermore, if it becomes public knowledge that the driver has a DUI, the person may feel embarrassed and can struggle to maintain their social position.
Finally, if a driver is formally charged with a DUI conviction it can influence their ability to find housing and employment. This is because the arrest record can show up on background and criminal checks when applying for jobs or renting apartments or houses. To avoid this social stigma and embarrassment, it is important for drivers to plan ahead when drinking away from home.
At McClintock Law, we are here to help you through every step of being charged with a DUI. We believe that a single misstep doesn’t define a person, and that’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the best legal services. We are here to help you keep your life on track, so do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation. Our number is (309)715-7181.