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Today, the Carroll County Times published an article about DUI arrests in Carroll County, Maryland.
DUI arrests are down in Carroll County this year compared to 2015. Year-to-date 183 drivers have been arrested for DUIs compared to 299 people in 2015.
Despite the decrease in arrests, law enforcement agencies are still taking a “zero tolerance” approach to drinking and driving. But, how does a “zero tolerance” approach affect your constitutional rights as a citizen in Carroll County?
While a DUI arrest can occur any day of the week, the most common times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and early morning.
During these times, police are targeting vehicles on the road and looking for indicators of drunk driving, or minor equipment violations, that give them probable cause to stop your vehicle.
Bottom, if you’re driving a car late in the evening, or early in the morning on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, then you are at a high risk of getting pulled over and questioned about a DUI.
After you are stopped by the police, you will be questioned about where you are coming from and asked how much you’ve had to drink tonight. If you admit to drinking, smell of alcohol, or say you are coming from a bar or restaurant, then you will be asked to perform the field sobriety tests.
What’s interesting about the field sobriety tests is whether or not they fairly reflect your normal coordination. Remember, the law requires that your normal coordination be impaired alcohol, not that you just smell like alcohol or admitting to drinking. Drinking and driving is not illegal, being under the influence or impaired of alcohol is illegal.
What’s normal about standing feet together with your hands by your side? Normal people don’t stand like that.
What’s normal about walking heel-to-toe with your head down, hands by your side on an imaginary straight line? Normal people don’t stand like that.
What’s normal about standing on one leg with your other leg six inches off the ground with your head down and hands by your side? Normal people don’t do that.
Finally, the tests and “clues” are the same regardless of your age and physical condition.
Bottom line, you’re going to fail the sobriety tests.
It’s a common misconception that if you blow under a 0.08 BAC, then you won’t be arrested for a DUI. You can, and will, be arrested for a DUI if you blow less than a 0.08 BAC.
Bottom line, if you admit to drinking and driving, you’re going to be arrested regardless of the field sobriety tests and your BAC results.
The best way to avoid a DUI arrest is to not drink and drive. One, two, or a couple beers is enough to put you close to or above the legal limit. And, remember, you don’t have to be over the legal limit to be arrested and convicted of a DUI.
The Law Office of Ross W. Albers is a member of the National College for DUI Defense. Maryland DWI Lawyer Ross W. Albers was selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Criminal Defense: DUI.