Getting pulled over for operating under the influence (OUI) in Maine is stressful, even if you haven't been drinking at all. Field sobriety tests and breathalyzers are notorious for giving “false positives” that can get you in legal trouble, even if you've done nothing wrong.
Staying composed during an OUI traffic stop is crucial. However, avoiding the traffic stop entirely is even better. Contrary to popular belief, there are things that you can do to minimize the odds of getting pulled over by a cop who suspects that you're driving drunk.
Here are 3 of them.
Keep Your Vehicle in Working Condition
Until you've been pulled over, there is very little evidence that police can gather for an OUI crime. Therefore, police look for any reason they can to initiate a traffic stop and get a closer look at you.
While the condition of your vehicle does not have anything to do with drunk driving, a police officer who is even remotely suspicious that you're driving while impaired will use a minor vehicle infraction – like a broken taillight – to pull you over. Once you're on the side of the road, the officer will do all they can to find evidence of an OUI crime. If they can, they'll arrest you. If they can't, they can still give you a ticket for the broken taillight.
Therefore, making sure your car has nothing wrong with it, is an excellent way to avoid those pretextual searches that so often get exacerbated when a police find evidence of OUI.
Similarly, police use minor traffic violations as reasons to initiate a traffic stop and search for evidence of an OUI. Stopping suddenly, rolling through a stop light, or changing lanes without signaling are not necessarily signs of drunk driving, but police will pull you over after seeing you drive poorly so they can get closer to you to see if you're impaired.
Obeying the rules of the road and driving attentively, therefore, are excellent ways to prevent a pretextual search that could end with an arrest for OUI.
Don't Drive, at All
Obviously, the best way to avoid getting pulled over for OUI is to not drive, at all. Designated drivers, taxis, and ridesharing companies like Uber or Lyft are all ways of getting home without getting behind the wheel. Hosting a party at your house or going to a bar within walking distance are also options.
However, not driving when you're impaired doesn't completely fix the problem: Many completely sober drivers are pulled over on suspicion of OUI, as well, and get arrested for drunk driving because of the many faulty ways police have of gathering evidence.
Maine OUI-Defense Attorney William T. Bly
Even if you're completely sober, these 3 techniques for avoiding a traffic stop may prevent an arrest and criminal charge for OUI.