Any Excuse to Pull You Over

It’s 10:00 PM and you are on the road. So are the police and they will find any excuse to pull you over. So let’s say you are traveling north on Telegraph or some other multilane road. You look in your rear view mirror and there are no cars behind you except one other car way back there. You change lanes without using your blinker; didn’t seem to be much reason seeing the only other car was so far away.
Unfortunately, the car way back there is a policeman and he sees that you did not signal. He flips on his flashing lights, speeds up and motions you to pull over. What’s really going on is that he wants to check out whether you are intoxicated. In Michigan, if an officer smells alcohol, he can order you out of the car and require you to perform Field Sobriety Tests or FSTs and if he thinks you did not pass the tests, he can then ask you to submit to a PBT, or Preliminary Breath Test. And passing the FSTs is not that easy, even if you have not had anything to drink. Try standing on one leg for thirty-seconds without using your arms for balance or walking a straight line, heel to toe, and not veering off of, what often times is, an invisible line.

But let’s say, given the same set of facts, that you did have a 2 or 3 drinks prior to driving, you don’t feel impaired or drunk but your alcohol blood level is .08 and the officer pulls you over and you submit to a PBT or Datamaster Test, you are going to jail for the night and you will be charged with drunk driving.

The bottom line, and especially if you are young, if you are driving at night, make sure you obey all the traffic laws, even if you think no one is around. And take a minute to check out your car. If your license plate light is burned out, the police can stop you. Or if your windshield is cracked, that’s enough. Better yet, don’t drive if you think you could not pass a PBT. And although, a colleague of mine once said, the person who has a BAC of .10 is probably the most careful driver on the road, if you get stopped and the officer smells alcohol, and you flunk the FSTs, and he requires you to submit to a PBT and later a Datamaster breath test, between the lawyer fees, the fines, court costs, and the driver responsibility fees, you will have spent about four grand for the drinks you consumed.