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"I Drive Better when I'm Drunk!" how Did I Get a DUI?

Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, individuals are arrested on a daily basis for driving under the influence. It is often the case where individuals are stopped and they have initially no idea why they are being pulled over. There a few common reasons why people get stopped in the first place which leaves them open to be investigated for DUI.

Expired Registration

This is a common reason why individuals get pulled over and it often never has anything to do with how they are driving. In Pennsylvania the law states that:

Driving unregistered vehicle prohibited.--No person shall drive or move and no owner or motor carrier shall knowingly permit to be driven or moved upon any highway any vehicle which is not registered in this Commonwealth unless the vehicle is exempt from registration.

Our Firm cannot tell you the amount of times people have called us and stated that they were initially pulled over due to an expired registration. It is important to know that once officers pull you over and approach your window, they will be able to begin questioning you about being intoxicated even if they have the slightest reason to believe you are.

Broken Headlight/Taillight

In Pennsylvania an individual's vehicle must have working headlights and taillights. The law states that:

Head lamps.--Every vehicle, except trailers, operated on a highway shall be equipped with a head lamp system in conformance with regulations of the department. The regulations shall not prohibit a bus from being equipped with devices used to carry pedalcycles on the front of the bus.

Rear lighting.--Every vehicle operated on a highway shall be equipped with a rear lighting system including, but not limited to, rear lamps, rear reflectors, stop lamps and license plate light, in conformance with regulations of the department. If a vehicle is equipped with a centrally mounted rear stop light, a decal or overlay may be affixed to the centrally mounted rear stop light if the decal or overlay meets all applicable State and Federal regulations.

If an officer sees a vehicle that has a non-working light, they have the authority to pull over the vehicle and inquire as to why it is not working. At this point, when the officer is speaking with the driver, if the officer believes the person is intoxicated, then his investigation can go beyond the non-working car light and morph into a full dui investigation.

Failing to Use a Turn Signal

This may be one of the most common reasons for getting pulled over. In Pennsylvania the law states that:

Upon a roadway no person shall turn a vehicle or move from one traffic lane to another or enter the traffic stream from a parked position unless and until the movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this section.

If an individual fails to use a turn signal, an officer has the authority to stop the driver and issue them a citation. While interacting with the driver, the officer will be able to observe any signs of intoxication that could lead to further investigation on suspicion of dui.

When an officer engages with an individual for any traffic infraction, common signs of intoxication that he/she will state they observed when interacting with the driver include:

  • slurred speech

  • dilated pupils

  • strong odor of alcohol emanating from the car or the driver's breathe

  • difficulty finding license and/or registration

  • unsure of where they are

  • odor of marijuana emanating from the car or driver's person

  • difficulty speaking

  • confusion

  • sweating

  • shaking

  • excited/furtive movements

This is by no means a full list but it serves as a message to all drivers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to make sure that they obey all traffic codes when driving. It is far too often that DUI's are born from the person's failure to obey other traffic laws when driving. The message to take home from this is, you don't have to be driving poorly to get arrested for a DUI.

I Got Arrested for A DUI, who can I call?

At The Town Law, we understand just how stressful facing criminal charges can be. With our vast experience handling criminal cases throughout Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, we are well-equipped to ensure you get the best result possible with attentive attorneys by your side throughout the process. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Our staff of experienced attorneys is dedicated to the best outcomes for all of our clients.