If a police officer in California suspects you of driving under the influence (DUI), their best friend is a pretextual traffic stop. These stops are not technically for DUI; they're for another road violation. However, once they have you on the side of the road, the cop is in a prime position to gather evidence that you are driving drunk.
Police know the power of pretextual stops to find drunk drivers and use them constantly. However, with the unreliability of breathalyzers and field sobriety tests, these pretextual stops can lead to an arrest and a DUI charge for the even the soberest driver.
Preventing a pretextual stop from happening is crucial. Here are three ways you can reduce the chances that a police officer can pull you over for a pretextual reason.
Maintain Your Vehicle
This is something that you can do even before getting in it. By keeping your vehicle well maintained, you can drastically reduce the ability of a police officer to pull you over.
Most pretextual stops are done when a police officer notices that there is something wrong with your vehicle. A taillight might be broken, or a one of your blinkers might not work properly. In either case, it gives a police officer who suspects you of driving while under the influence to initiate a traffic stop. Once you're on the side of the road, the officer can find evidence of inebriation that they would never have found, before the traffic stop.
Therefore, properly maintaining your vehicle and promptly fixing anything wrong with it can prevent a cop from using that problem as a reason to pull you over and look for evidence of a DUI crime.
Driving conservatively is another way to prevent police from using a pretextual stop to look for evidence of a DUI crime.
Obeying the speed limit, minimizing lane changes, and keeping a safe following distance are all ways to keep police from finding an excuse to pull you over.
Similar to driving conservatively, driving deliberately can keep police from using a pretextual stop to look for evidence of another, more serious, crime.
Driving deliberately means keeping your eyes and focus on the road at all times, keeping distractions to a minimum, and taking your trip one step at a time. This makes you focus on basic driving techniques, like a lane change, and executing every step safely and efficiently, including using your signal.
By maintaining your focus and practicing fundamental driving, you can keep police from finding a reason to pull you over and look for signs of DUI.
DUI-Defense Attorney in Sacramento, John Campanella
Even if a police officer suspects you of DUI, utilizing these three tips can make it far more difficult for them to initiate a traffic stop and gather more evidence that you have broken the law. This can go a long way towards avoiding a wrongful arrest and criminal charge for drunk driving.