You undoubtedly already know that the easiest way to avoid a DWI/DUI stop in North Carolina, or anywhere, is to completely refrain from consuming alcohol before driving. However, even such seemingly foolproof measures do not always work because police often make mistakes and arrest people for suspected drunk driving who have not been drinking at all before getting behind the wheel.
That said, there are several things you can do to lower your risk for having a nice evening out ruined by becoming subject to a traffic violation or criminal investigation. Even if you do all of these things, however, it’s still no guarantee that a police officer will never stop you or that you will avoid arrest. That’s why it’s critical that you know your rights and how to protect them in case a problem arises.
Always do these things before driving
Make sure all vehicle equipment is functioning properly. Just because both of your brake lights worked the last time you drove your car, doesn’t mean they will still be working the next time. Police often use non-functioning brake lights, headlights or other vehicle equipment malfunctions as reasonable causes to make traffic stops. The last thing you need is for a broken taillight to lead to a DWI/DUI arrest.
Are your documents in order and easily accessible?
One of the first things a police officer might do when approaching your vehicle is ask to see your driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration information. If you do not have these documents available in your car at the time, you may wind up facing serious legal problems, especially if the officer on duty thinks you may be intoxicated.
Know about the criminal record of the person whose car you’re driving
You may have borrowed a friend’s car to go to the store. What you may not know is that the vehicle you’re driving at the time may have prompted a police officer to stop you if the person who owns the car has prior drunk driving convictions on his or her criminal record. Police often track license plate numbers and target vehicles registered to convicted drunk drivers.
Be wary of where you drive and when
It’s logical to assume that cops are paying close attention to areas surrounding bars or nightclubs, especially during late-night hours. If you speed out of a pub parking lot, chances are any nearby police officer is going to flash lights and pull you over.
Protect your rights
Facing DWI/DUI charges in North Carolina or another state doesn’t necessarily mean the court will hand down a conviction or even that the court will send your case to trial. There are support networks in place to help you protect your rights and mitigate your circumstances as much as possible.