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Why do cops stop people for DUI? | Affordable Fresno DUI Attorney | Criminal Defense Attorney

Posted by Jonathan E. Rooker | Oct 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fresno DUI Lawyer | Fresno DUI Attorney

What can I do to avoid being stopped by the police?

Make sure your vehicle is in proper working order:


a. License Plate illuminator light:  One of the least often cited offenses that accounts for the most vehicle stops that result in a DUI, is an inoperable license plate illuminator light.  The small light(s) that illuminate your license plate at night is seldomly checked by most drivers.  However, a disproportionately high percentage of DUI arrests, started with a stop for a inoperable license plate illuminator light.

b. Tail lights:  Vehicles are required to have operable tail lights.  When one burns out, it provides the precursor for an officer stop the vehicle for an infraction, and cite the driver for this fixable violation.  It also provides the officer reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle.  Once the vehicle is stoppped, if the driver has been consuming alcoholic beverages, then it could become a DUI investigation and result in an arrest, which could have been avoided by not drinking and driving, or maintaining the vehicle in compliance with the law.

c. Brake Lights:  Brake lights are important to signal traffic behind you that you may be stopping.  Many modern vehicles come equipped with multiple brake lights.  They must be maintained in working order.  If one is not working, that provides a basis for a vehicle stop.  The most common brake light to result in a stop is the "Third" brake light, usually possitioned in the center of the back window of a vehicle.  Contrary to urban myths, they too must be maintained in working order if the vehicle was equipped with a third brake light from the factory.  Even if it was added later, the officer may suspect it was not and it too could result in a traffic stop.  This is common with DUI arrests, many of which began as an inoperable brake light stop.

d. Blinkers:  Blinker must be used in cirtain circumstances prior to turning, if it could affect traffic in the vacinity.  Failure to signal before a turn could result in a violation.  So could a braken or inoperable blinker.  Failure to properly signal before a turn is a common theme in DUI arrests.  Guard against violation this vehicle code by maintaining your blinkers in good working condition and using them before every turn or lane change.  Good habbits, make good drivers, and safe roads.

e. Headlights:  One of the easiest violations to spot is a burned out or inoperable headlight.  If your headlight is out, you will be stopped, probably sooner than later.

Make sure you vehicle is well maintained:

a. Steering:  Some steerring collums have "play" in them which makes keeping the vehicle in the center of your lane difficult.  The gears may be worn, or other issues which cause the steering to be loose.  If your car is weaving within the lane, the officer may suspect you are under the influence and stop you.  

b. Tires:  Worn or unsafe tires make stopping difficult, they also may lose traction easier, or cause the vehicle to jerk or weave within the course of travel.  It is also a violation of its own.  The police may also consciously or unconsciously take it into consideration when deciding whether to stop a vehicle.  

c. Allignment:  A vehicle which is out of allighnnment can cause the vehicle to swerve or travel in an akward manner.  This can cause an officer to suspect impairment, and result in a traffic stop.  If your car is out of allighment, get it allighned.

d. Smog/exhaust: A gross polluter or vehicle with an extraordinary amount of emmissions being visible may cause the officer to stop the vehicle.  It is highly visible, and easy to spot.  It is also a crime that can result in a ticket or confiscation of a vehicle.  In the central valley air pollution is a serious problem and the regulations keep getting stricter.  

Do you part as a vehicle operator, avoid driver error:

a.  Drive within speed limits: Any time you speed, by any amount, you are running the risk of being stopped, and ticketed.

b. Drive straight:  Failing to pay attention to your driving can result in weaving, having to brake excessively hard, an accident, or numerous other telltail signs of driver error that can cause a traffic stop or worse and accident.  If you drive, pay attention to your driving, for everyone's safety.

c. Cell Phone:  For many officersthis is one of their favorite revenue producing stops. It is also a reason to stop the vehicle, asses sobriety, ask for registration, insurance, and perform a visual inspection of the contents of the vehicle during the stop.  It commonly results in more than a cell phone ticket.  Many DUI, Drug, gun, and other violations sart with a cell phone violation.  Don't violate the cell phone laws, especially if it will lead to more trouble.

d. Time of day:  The time of driving is one of the most crucial aspects of whether or not you will get pulled over.  The statistics have shown that people our later, especially on a weekend, are more likely to be involved in criminal activity, DUI, or other similar issues.  If you are driving at 10pm, 11pm, or later, you are much more likely to get stopped. Once your are stopped, the officers will be checking for warrants, seeing if you are on probation, checking license and insuarance.  Too many drivers who have had their license suspended for DUI, have volunteered to sober drive prior to getting their license reinstated, and been cited or arrested for driving on a suspended license.  Many believe they will get leinancy for having the responsibility to sober drive for intoxicated people.  They don't recieve it.  Don't do it.

Don't Modify your vehicle's appearance:

Vehicle Charachteristics:

a. Tint:  Some windows may be tinted legally, however, it may play a subconcious role in why the vehicle is stopped.  It looks like a kids car, or a young adult which he officer profiles as being out to drink, party, and misbehave.  Further, some vehicles have windows tinted that are illegal.  It might as well be a flashing light to the officer to stop the vehicle and check the occupants for drungs or DUI.  

b. Hanging stuff from the rear view mirror:  While objects may be legal, the officer can use the belief that the object exceeded the size allowable and obstructed the vision of the driver as a reason to stop the vehicle.  

c. Paint:  While not a legal reason to stop a vehicle, a fancy paint job, decals, stickers, and other decorative additions to a vehicle to make it stand out, also makes it stand out to officer, which could result in stop, and other violation may become apparent.

d. Lowered Vehicle: Few things signal a cop to stop a vehicle more than having a lowered vehicle.  

e. Wheels: Fancy wheels do what they are meant to do, they attract attention.  They also attract attention of officers.  They could cause a vehicle stop.

When it comes to avoiding a vehicle stop by police officers, use your common sense.  If it is a violation, such as an inopperable light or moving violation it could cause the officer to stop you.  If you are driving poorly, or stand out from other vehicles, you will also attract the attention of the officers.  

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