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Honolulu DUI And Traffic Law Blog

How do police detect DUI?

When you take to the road after consuming alcohol, there's always a risk of being pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. Even if you think you're following the rules of the road, police are on the lookout for anyone who is driving in a suspicious or erratic manner.

Here are three methods police use to detect DUI:

  • Observation of illegal or erratic driving: For example, if an officer is watching traffic from the side of the road, they may be looking for drivers who are swerving in and out of their lane, driving extremely slowly or ignoring traffic signs. This is the type of probable cause an officer needs to pull you over and learn more about what's happening.
  • Field sobriety tests: If you're stopped by police, they're likely to conduct a variety of field sobriety tests to determine if you've been drinking and driving. These typically include standing on one leg, walking in a straight line and/or a speech test.
  • Chemical test: If you fail one or more field sobriety test, expect the officer to ask you to take a chemical test. These tests are normally taken by testing a breath sample, urine or your blood. At the scene, the use of a Breathalyzer is most common.

These defenses to drunk driving are common

You're pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, arrested at the scene and taken to a local jail in Honolulu for processing. Although your mind is racing and you have concerns about the future, it's critical to calm down and think long and hard about the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.

It's critical to remember that a criminal charge of drunk driving is not the same as a conviction. You'll have your day in court, and when you do it's your time to defend yourself against the charges.

DUI: From booking to bail

The last place you want to find yourself is on the side of the road for suspicion of DUI. While it's possible you may be able to escape an arrest, not everyone is this fortunate.

If you're arrested for suspicion of DUI, it's imperative to keep calm and follow the directions given by the officer. Resisting arrest or acting difficult will only make things worse.

Breathalyzer results are not aways accurate

If you fail a Breathalyzer test during a traffic stop, you typically receive drunk driving charges immediately. In the moment, you may feel as though there is nothing you can do to fight the charges and that your conviction is an open and shut case, but this is not always true.

While Breathalyzer results qualify as strong evidence in the eyes of the court, there are several factors that may affect the accuracy of these devices, and it is always wise to examine every aspect of the evidence against you as you build a legal defense.

The sub-0.08% DUI: It can happen to you

If you ask any police officer about the legal limit of 0.08% for blood alcohol concentration, they will tell you not to put too much emphasis on that limit. You can get a DUI even if you're under it.

This is, in fact, one of the more common misconceptions that people hold. They have seen it so many times in movies and TV shows: Someone gets pulled over, gets a breath test, and then gets arrested because their BAC is over 0.08%. It's easy to start thinking that all police really look for is that high reading or that you can't get arrested if you blow a 0.07% instead.

Understand the impact of a DUI in Oahu

Hawaii is extremely strict when it comes to DUIs, particularly in places like Oahu where there is tourism and a great deal of danger when a driver is drunk on the roads.

The police often employ unannounced checkpoints to catch drivers who are intoxicated and will take steps to get anyone who appears intoxicated off the roads.

Speeding? Excessive speeding can lead to harsh penalties

You may not have even been drinking or acting recklessly when you were pulled over, but if you were exceeding 30 mph over the limit or over 80 mph in total, you could face serious repercussions in Oahu. Hawaii has strict excessive speeding laws, and even first-time offenders face harsh penalties.

By law, a first-time offender faces fines of up to $1,000, may have their license suspended for 30 days and will have to go through mandatory driver's education. On top of that, they'll have to spend up to five days in prison or perform 36 hours of community service. Seem extreme? That's just what happens to those speeding excessively the first time. If you've had previous stops or have other charges in combination with the ticket, your penalties could be worse.

When could drivers face Hawaiian reckless driving charges?

Honolulu has some beautiful, scenic roads. It also has a lot of people who have to make it to work on time and plenty of tourists who aren't familiar with state driving laws. Both those who have lived in Hawaii for years and those who are only visiting could find themselves facing legal charges related to reckless driving after getting pulled over by law enforcement.

Understanding how Hawaii defines reckless driving and the potential penalties associated with such charges can help you avoid criminal charges, or at least develop a potentially effective defense strategy if you face reckless driving charges.

Are you too drunk to drive? Answering this question is important

If you decide to drink alcohol, it's imperative to closely monitor your intake. Doing so will go a long way in keeping you safe.

Unfortunately, the more you drink, the more difficult it becomes to make sound decisions. This can result in a variety of errors, such as getting behind the wheel in Hawaii when you should be calling for a ride.

Tips to follow if you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI

If you have alcohol in your system, the last thing you want to see is police lights in your rearview mirror. This alone is enough to scare you straight, but the real fear is sure to set in once you pull to the side of the road.

Even if you've been drinking, it doesn't necessarily mean the officer will arrest you. Here are five important steps to take:

  • Stay in your vehicle: Once you pull over, stay in your vehicle and wait for the officer to arrive at your window. Also, keep your hands on the wheel and put your window down when the officer requests you to do so.
  • Remain polite: Forget about how the officer is treating you. It's important to remain polite at all times, even if you feel that you're being mistreated in some way.
  • You don't have to answer questions: You want to follow directions and remain respectful, but you don't want to say anything that could incriminate you. If you're not comfortable answering a particular question, ask for clarification or simply tell the officer that you don't want to speak.
  • Don't say too much: It's easy to fall into the trap of candidly telling the officer what you're up to. For example, you may say something like "I only had one drink a couple hours ago." This doesn't typically help, as the officer has heard every excuse and reason in the book. You're better off complying with basic questions, while avoiding sharing any unnecessary information.
  • Remain calm if you're put under arrest: It's not always easy to do, but fighting back will only make things worse. This can result in additional criminal charges, such as resisting arrest. At this point, the best thing you can do is remain calm, follow directions and keep quiet.

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