Have you ever experienced being pulled over by a police or law enforcement? Or perhaps you know someone who had.
It is important that you know what to do and how to react in that situation. Any driver who is stopped by a law enforcement should stop right away and pull their vehicle over the road.
Authorities will approach the driver, and there will be consequences like being arrested if they don’t pull over.
We’ll be exploring the laws and penalties related to common scenarios where a driver will be stopped by law enforcement. If you are ready, read ahead!
Table of Contents
What is DUI?
When someone drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may face penalties.
In addition to your own penalties, you may face further charges if your activity causes a crash and someone is injured.
DUI is a crime that can be charged when someone is pulled over by the police at random or during DUI checkpoints. If your Blood Alcohol Count (BAC) is less than .08 at the time of arrest, you are within the legal limit.
Because each state in the United States has a legal limit, your blood alcohol concentration is critical. Use this chart to relate your BAC results to the amount of alcohol you consumed:
DUI is deemed to have occurred if your blood alcohol level exceeds this threshold. The higher your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the greater the consequences.
Laws and Penalties Related to DUI
Every state has different fines and penalties for anyone caught driving under the influence. Here are some examples.
1. DUI Charges On First Offense
First-time DUI offenders are often charged with a misdemeanor or minor charges. However, they can be penalized by a maximum of six months up to a year of prison time.
While some states will just let you off the hook, others will punish you severely, such as canceling your driver’s license.
- For a first DUI, the maximum jail sentence is much shorter in several states. Ohio, Idaho, Montana, Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kentucky are gentle states regarding DUI offenders.
- The least harsh state is South Dakota, which doesn’t impose imprisonment for first- or second-time drivers under the influence.
- On the other hand, Arizona is recognized for having the strictest laws for first-time offenders, and your license will automatically be revoked if you are ever caught for a DUI.
2. Repeated DUI Offenses: Second offense or more
The maximum sentence imposed for a second or consecutive DUI could get longer.
Depending on whether you were accused of a misdemeanor or a felony, different states have different penalties for a second or more DUI charge.
- In Colorado, the minimum sentence is five days in jail; for a second, it’s ten days; and for a third, it’s sixty days. Its maximum jail sentence for a first, second, or more DUI is one year, the same for all three crimes.
- Any Florida resident convicted of a third DUI within ten years of a prior conviction, or a fourth or succeeding DUI, is guilty of a third-degree felony punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or five years in prison.
- In California, a third DUI offense penalties are 3 to 5 years probationary period, 30 months of DUI school, license suspension for 3 years, 120 days to 1 year prison time, and up to $3,000 in fines.
- In Pennsylvania, people who have been charged with a third DUI are at risk of 10 days to 5 years in prison, a suspended license, and a fine of up to $10,000 and must enroll in ignition interlock programs.
Here are other possible punishments for a person who commits a DUI for the second time:
- Suspension of driver’s license is longer.
- A more significant amount for penalties.
- Extended prison time.
- There will be programs that must be participated like alcohol treatment and an ignition interlock device (IID).
- IID is a small device that is installed in your vehicle, and it will check your blood alcohol content before you can start your vehicle.
3. Felony DUIs
A DUI charge remains on an individual’s driving record forever. In certain states like Pennsylvania and Texas, your sentence will be increased if you’ve gotten a DUI during the last five or ten years.
Also, other states will charge a second DUI violation as a felony, regardless of when the previous one happened.
If a drunk driver causes an accident that results in a fatality or severe injury, they can be convicted of felony DUI.
If you are driving and beat the red light while drunk and accidentally hit a vehicle or a person, you may be charged with felony DUI.
Felony DUI Penalties
- Imprisonment for a year
- May granted parole and probation
- Pay up to $1,000 or more in fines
- Legal claims from someone who was hurt or for damage to property may be filed against the driver.
- There are jobs that will not hire someone with a convicted DUI case.
Insurance companies may terminate their coverage or significantly raise the cost of coverage.
Other Common Scenarios
- Traffic stops – It is the most common way police and civilians interact. The goal of many of these traffic stops is to keep the roads safe and orderly.
- Multi-lane roads – On multi-lane highways, police can pull you over if you are seen changing lanes without signaling and failing to follow signs and road markings.
The following are some offenses that will prompt a police officer or traffic enforcement officer to stop you on the road:
- Vehicle headlights off
- Avoiding or speeding in checkpoints
- Expired vehicle registration
- Not enough distance from the vehicle behind you
- Lack of lane maintenance or weaving
- Driving while exhausted and creating any moving violations
- Vehicle components that attract officer attention, such as failed vehicle lights or others
Now you know what to do when cops pull you over. Any driver who is stopped by a law enforcement officer should be respectful and cooperative.
Any violent reactions towards law enforcement officers can lead to arrest and further charges.
If the police check your BAC with suspected drunkenness and the results are higher than .08, the authorities will arrest or question you.
In situations where you face charges, are arrested, or encounter a routine traffic stop, know your driver’s rights.
John Cotton is Safecallnow’s copywriter. He is an authority on research and reviews. He is responsible for locating information and guidance on riot and disturbance control equipment, training equipment, correctional products, watch house products, tactical equipment, government regulation information, and more. His work guarantees a high level of proficiency and authority.