Frederick County DUI Stops
If you are arrested for a DUI, there is an assertion from an officer or state trooper that you have alcohol in your system, either to a lower degree or higher degree. If you are facing impaired driving charges, get in touch with a DUI lawyer in Frederick County as soon as possible.
Probable Cause for a DUI Stop
It is important to remember that all properly-conducted DUI stops happen for a reason. It could be that someone was driving on the line, was driving erratically, or was driving on a side road and was swerving while they drove. In other cases, it could be a DUI checkpoint where someone stopped at and was asked to step out of their vehicle.
The officer will typically walk to the car no different than they normally would for any type of traffic citation, but when they get to the window of the vehicle they could identify their eyes are bloodshot or watery, that there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from someone’s breath, or that they were slow or they stuttered in their speech. Those observations are what officers typically use to establish probable cause.
Tag-Lighting as a Basis for Probable Cause
One popular trend regarding probable cause in Frederick traffic stops is if someone had a tag light out on their vehicle. This is the Maryland tag that someone puts on the back of their car, which is apparently so important that if it is not illuminated properly it can be probable cause for a stop. Tag-lighting is actually a newer practice—there are plenty of cars still on the roads today that never had lights around the tag.
A Maryland’s license-plate tag has a reflective plastic coating so a vehicle is behind someone with headlights on, the headlights will illuminate the license plate. The justification for this kind of citation and stop that there might be a safety issue if they are trying to not illuminate their tag, or the absence of a tag light may indicate that the driver may be trying to evade something.
However, when coupled with some of the observations listed above, a simple traffic stop can turn into a DUI stop quite quickly.
Sobriety Tests at the DUI Stop
At this point, the officer typically asks someone to step out of the vehicle and submit to field sobriety testing and a preliminary breath test (PBT).
Although the PBT is a breath test, it is not the breath test that is used as evidence in court. In fact, the PBT is inadmissible as proof of impairment and it does not have to be complied with. Someone can refuse to take the PBT and field sobriety tests. It will not help someone because these tests are only used by officers to evaluate their sobriety and decide whether to take them back to the barrack or station for the Intoxylizer machine test.
Breath Test at the Station or Barracks
The Intoxilyzer is a highly sophisticated machine that takes the breath test by both testing itself and then testing you. It is used to gauge your BAC, and if it is above 0.08 you will likely be charged with a DUI. If you go above 0.15 the penalties get higher.