You can be charged with driving under the influence no matter how much you’ve had to drink. While you’re considered legally impaired when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, under Hawaii law, you can be charged with DUI even when you are under the legal limit, if your ability to drive is impaired. Alcohol remains in your system for hours, and as long as you have any measurable amount of alcohol in your system, you can be charged as a drunk driver.
The easiest way not to get charged with a DUI is not to drink and drive, to call a taxi or have a designated driver. But this is common sense, and you’re probably looking for the inside scoop on how to get out of a DUI charge.
The truth is, there is no secret tip that is going to save you from being arrested or prosecuted for driving under the influence, and no sane person would ever encourage you to drink and drive. However, there are ways to decrease the likelihood of being stopped and charged with a drunk-driving violation.
– Make sure your vehicle is free of defects and in good working order. Check your headlights, taillights, brake lights, high-beams, and turn signals. Inspection and registration stickers need to be current and legible. Your license plates also need to be properly attached and readable. Darkly tinted windows, loud exhaust pipes, cracked windows, and unrepaired body damage are also excuses to pull you over.
– Follow traffic laws. Wear your seat belt, go under the speed limit, drive carefully within your lane, use your signal lights, and come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights.
– Be especially careful driving out of bar parking lots. It may seem unfair for police officers to wait outside of bars and target drivers who are leaving, but it is legal (and common) for them to do so.
– Stay focused on driving. As always, you shouldn’t text and need to use a hands-free device such as a bluetooth headset if you’re going to talk on the phone. When you’ve been drinking, it is safer not to multitask by having a conversation or fiddling with your radio. You may be able to do other things while driving when you are sober, but drinking slows your reaction time and you really don’t want to give an officer any reason to think you are distracted and intoxicated.
– Keep necessary documents such as your driver’s license, registration, and insurance card in a readily accessible location. You don’t want to be caught fumbling around for these items, or worse, not being able to find them.
– If blue lights go on behind you, find a safe place to pull over, on the right side of the road whenever possible. Next, turn on your overhead light and place both your hands on the steering wheel where the police officer can see them. This makes him more comfortable about his safety and shows a sense of control on your part.
– Be polite, but do not answer any questions. Beyond providing your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance, you are under no obligation to provide any other information.
This cannot be emphasized enough. The officer may try to act friendly or intimidate you into answering questions, but any admission will be used against you. “I decline to answer” or “I have nothing to say” are good responses.
– The officer can ask you to step out of your vehicle to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) to prove you are capable of driving. Decline. Few ever pass these roadside sobriety tests, even when sober, and they are only used to give the officer justification to require you to take a chemical test to determine your BAC.
– If arrested, do not talk to the officer on the way to jail unless required, and again don’t answer any questions about where you were, what you doing, how much you had to drink, etc.
– If you are cited or booked for DUI, stay calm. Contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as you can, ideally within 24-48 hours after your arrest. Although you may feel like the facts of your case make you look guilty, a DUI attorney will examine the events, looking for details that may have violated your rights or errors made by law enforcement officers that may ultimately help you get your charges reduced or your case dismissed.
You never know what kind of case you may have. Schedule a free consultation with Maui defense attorney David A. Sereno by calling 808-242-5710 to see how we can help!