Most people understand that if the police notice that the vehicle is weaving a bit when you’re behind the wheel that it could mean you’ve had one too many. What many criminal barristers & solicitors have to explain to clients is that there are other reasons to be charged with a DUI or impaired driving. These four facts will help broaden your understanding and maybe help you avoid committing an act that could lead to a lot of trouble.
A DUI is a Criminal Offense
If someone has told you in the past that driving under the influence is a misdemeanor, you’re operating under a false assumption. A DUI is a criminal offense. As such, you will face stiff penalties if you’re convicted. Along with fines and the necessity of taking court-ordered driving safety classes, you could lose your driving privileges for a time and end up in jail. If your negligence ends up injuring someone, the consequences will be even worse.
The Vehicle Does Not Have to be In Drive
You’ve had some drinks and are now sitting in the driver’s seat with the radio on. The engine is not running and your plan is to wait in your car until the cab or your friend arrives to pick you up. That means you’re in no danger of being arrested for a DUI, right?
That’s wrong. Being inebriated and in a driver’s seat is more than enough reason for an officer to approach you and ask that you take a breathalyzer test. The fact that the engine is not engaged does not mean you weren’t about to start it and drive away. Your best bet is to wait inside the bar until your ride shows up.
You Don’t Have to Be in a Car
Who says that driving under the influence has to involve a car at all? You may be walking toward your vehicle and appear to be inebriated. If so, the authorities are likely to stop and question you.
What about other modes of transportation? If you’re operating those, you could be arrested. That means you can be charged with DUI on a bike if you’re weaving along in a way that looks as if you have less than total control.
A DUI or Impaired Driving Doesn’t Have to Involve Alcohol
When most people think of getting a DUI, their minds immediately go to the concept of having too much to drink. It’s actually possible to be charged if some other substance is involved. As long as your ability to move is impaired in some way, you could be arrested.
What other substances could be the cause? Any illegal drug could be the underlying cause. If you take prescription medications and they slow your responses and make it unsafe to operate any type of vehicle, you could be stopped and arrested.
There’s more to driving under the influence or impaired driving than most people realize. To reduce the risk of finding yourself in an awkward position, spend some time learning more about what these types of charges involved. Doing so could make it easier to determine when you need to stay far away from any vehicle and leave the driving to others.