By Thomas A. Campbell
Sobriety checkpoints are not allowed in Washington State. In order to stop you, the police officer has to have a valid legal reason; this means that the officer must observe a violation of the rules of the road. The most effective thing that you can do to avoid an arrest for a DUI is to practice legal driving habits.
Here is a list of tips to help you avoid being stopped by the police:
- Don’t drive a car with malfunctioning equipment (headlights, taillights, turn signals, cracked windshield).
- Don’t drive with equipment that doesn’t meet legal requirements (blue headlights, overly tinted windows, expired tabs or your front license plate on your dashboard).
- Get used to following the rules of the road; use your turn signals when required, don’t speed and don’t drive in the “suicide lane”.
- Pay close attention to how you are driving. Put away your cell phone and never text and drive. Limit activities such as lighting a cigarette or changing the radio station. When you lose focus on driving, it becomes difficult to keep track of your speed as well as lane markers.
- Don’t live on the edge. Instead, err on the side of caution at all times. Stop when the light is yellow, avoid “California stops”, and observe lane markers through curves. These minor violations don’t seem like a big deal, however they can and will give an officer the reason they need to stop you.
Once an officer has stopped you, the first observation that they will make is whether there is a smell of alcohol or of marijuana. If the officer finds reasonable suspicion, they will begin processing you to determine whether or not you are safe to drive.
In conclusion, the most effective way to avoid an arrest for a DUI is to NOT DRIVE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. Designate someone in your group whom can be relied upon to not drink or smoke marijuana as the night progresses. If you find yourself questioning your ability to drive, pay for a cab, it’s much cheaper than the cost of hiring adequate representation in the event that you are charged with a DUI.