6 Common Reasons for a Traffic Stop

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On January 11, 2022

A DUI arrest is typically preceded by a traffic stop, whether the police officer suspects drunk driving or has stopped a driver for an unrelated reason, such as speeding. Many traffic offenses are common even when drivers are sober. However, at certain times of the day or week, when the police suspect drunk driving, they are more likely to stop drivers for traffic violations.

While most people know that its illegal to drive with a .08 or greater blood alcohol content (BAC) in Oregon, not everyone knows that you can be arrested and charged with DUI even if you blow under a .08. Further, alcohol can remain in one’s system for hours. There are a number of factors that determine how long it will take for your body to process alcohol. Additionally, even if a controlled substance has been prescribed by your doctor, but that medication affects your ability to drive, an officer may consider you to be “under the influence” of that medication.

With all of this in mind, the best way to avoid a DUI charge is to avoid consuming any alcohol or controlled substances, at any time, prior to driving. But if you must drive after consuming any alcohol, consider these six things while driving to avoid the inconvenience, for both you and the officer, of being stopped by police.

1. Speeding

Drivers go above the speed limit frequently, both sober and intoxicated. In the late-night hours, or on weekends, officers may be more inclined to suspect DUI if you’re speeding. Additionally, driving too slowly can also be dangerous. To avoid getting stopped, follow the listed speed limits.

2. Failure To Maintain Lane

There are lots of reasons why a driver may be swerving while driving. The driver could be texting, adjusting the air conditioning, or even eating. Regardless, the police may stop a car for swerving, even if the car has not gone outside their lane! When operating a vehicle, it is important that you stay alert and focused on driving and not distracted by other things.

3. Reckless Driving

A combination of speeding, swerving, or abrupt movement would show reckless driving. If the officer sees that you are driving in a way that could endanger yourself or others, you will likely be pulled over.

4. Ignoring Traffic Lights or Signs

You may be pulled over if you run or roll through a stop sign, run a red light, make a turn where there is a sign that says you cannot. When we get in a hurry, we cut corners. It may seem harmless to ignore traffic signs when there are no cars or pedestrians around, but rest assured that doing so is a traffic violation and a common reason for traffic stops that lead to DUI’s.

It’s also important to note that you may be pulled over if you fail to move once the light turns green. This could give the impression that your distracted, confused, or even asleep at the wheel. As noted earlier, when operating a vehicle it’s important to stay alert and focused on driving.

5. No Headlights (or other issues with your vehicle equipment)

It is very common for police to stop a car for driving without headlights, having dim or burned-out tail lights or license plate lights, or expired license tags. Again, to keep yourself and other drivers safe, and avoid giving law enforcement a reason to pull you over, make sure all the equipment on your vehicle is working properly.

6. Texting

Remember that is is illegal for most citizens to drive while holding or using an electronic device. Even though sending a text-only takes a few seconds, it’s best to pull over to the side of the road and bring your vehicle to a complete stop first.

If you are pulled over, remember to be polite and avoid being confrontational. Refusing to cooperate with a police officer is typically not in your best interest. At the end of the day, police officers have a job to do, and behind every badge is a human being.

Arrested for DUI?

As always, please consider Portland’s top DUI firm when seeking legal counsel.  Reynolds Defense Firm is a resource to help you and your loved one figure out the best next steps.  Sometimes that means we work together, sometimes we don’t. Either way we can answer your questions, and help you sleep easier at night.  To contact us, call 503.855.6457 for additional information.  You can also submit an online form or chat or text us with our 24/7 live chat service for your free initial consultation.

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