By now, we all know that driving while under the influence (DUI) is both dangerous and illegal. Despite that knowledge, arrests for DUI continue to occur on a large scale, due in part to the increased enforcement efforts of law enforcement agencies across the country. In fact, it often seems that there is a police car around every corner waiting to catch motorists doing something wrong. Even if you have not consumed any alcohol nor ingested any type of controlled substance, getting pulled over can be a major hassle. To help you avoid ending up along the side of the road waiting for a costly ticket – or worse — the Omaha DUI attorneys at Petersen Law Office offer a list of the top 10 things you can do to prevent being pulled over in the first place.
Reasons the Police Use to Pull You Over
Contrary to how it may seem, a law enforcement officer cannot pull you over without a legal reason to do so. Although an officer is not required to have proof that you are drunk (or have otherwise committed a crime), the officer does at least need to have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a traffic infraction. In fact, it is these “pretextual” stops that so often end in an arrest for DUI. A law enforcement officer is allowed to use a “pretext,” such as a minor traffic violation, to initially stop a motorist and then turn the stop into a DUI investigation if the officer gains additional information that would lead him/her to believe the motorist is driving under the influence. The key to avoiding any type of stop, therefore, is to avoid providing that pretext. The following are commonly used pretexts that can also be easily avoided by motorists:
- Check vehicle lights regularly. A broken taillight is almost certain to end in a traffic stop at night. Another one few motorists think to check is your license plate light – but officers certainly notice if it isn’t working.
- Keep vehicle registration up to date. If your plates are expired, a traffic stop will result in a hefty ticket at a bare minimum.
- Don’t let your license expire. The same is true for your license – and remember that most officers now have in-vehicle computers that can check things rather quickly.
- Keep your tint legal. Every state decides how dark the tint on a vehicle can be. Make sure the tint on your vehicle, particularly if you purchased it out of state, doesn’t exceed the state limit or you can count on being pulled over and dealing with a nervous law enforcement officer.
- Repair defects in your vehicle as quickly as possible. Things such as a cracked windshield, a missing or hanging side mirror, or a loud muffler will catch an officer’s attention and often lead to a stop.
- Don’t drive too fast – or too slow. Trying to stay exactly at the speed limit is both difficult and not necessary; however, stay within ten miles over and under the posted speed limit. Unless you are a senior citizen, driving too slow is just as likely to get you pulled over as driving too fast.
- Don’t drive recklessly. Weaving in and out of traffic and other reckless driving behaviors draw unwanted attention to you.
- Always signal lane changes. Failing to yield and failing to signal are among the most commonly used pretexts for a traffic stop that is really a DUI stop.
- Avoid driving around the time bars close. Law enforcement officers make the assumption that if you are out driving around the time the bars close that you just left a bar and, therefore, you are drinking and driving.
- Stay off your cell phone. Most states now prohibit texting and driving and many prohibit all handheld devices. If a police officer sees you using your cell phone you can almost count on being stopped.
Contact Omaha DUI Attorneys at Petersen Law Office
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, it is always in your best interest to consult directly with a DUI defense attorney about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Contact the Nebraska DUI lawyers at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.