YOU SWERVED BECAUSE YOU WERE TEXTING, CAN YOU BE ARRESTED FOR A DUI???

Dec 23, 2015 @ 03:05 PM — by Myles L. Berman

SO, YOU WANT TO TEXT

The facts usually begin like this: The Defendant, let’s call her Debra, is driving down Sunset Boulevard one night. She just left the club and did not notice the Police car in her rear view. Debra hears her favorite song playing on the radio. She turns up the volume and reaches for her cell phone. She briefly takes her eyes off the road to text her roommate to make sure that she did not take Debra’s parking space. While Debra is texting, her car slowly veers across the center line of the boulevard. Debra quickly notices the error and adjusts the steering wheel bringing her car well within her lane. The lights on the police cruiser behind Debra light up. Debra now sees the police car in her rear view. She pulls over into a nearby parking lot.

GETTING PULLED OVER

The officer approaches Debra and asks for her license and registration. While Debra is rummaging through her purse looking for the license and registration Debra asks the officer why he stopped her. The officer explains that it was because Debra crossed the center line. Debra quickly explains to the officer that it was unintentional – she only crossed the center line because she was looking at her cell phone. The officer ignores Debra’s response and begins a DUI investigation. He subsequently arrests Debra for DUI.

COMMON SITUATION

The above scenario is not uncommon. Many people take their eyes off the road for just a brief moment. During that short time period the car swerves across the center line. The person is detained for not maintaining their lane and subsequently arrested for DUI. Although the person would have properly maintained in the lane but for the distraction, the police can use this brief lapse in judgement as probable cause to begin a DUI investigation of this person.  The law does not require that the police officer be aware that the person did not intend to swerve or cross the center lane – the law only requires that the office observe the violation of crossing the center land. Depending on what the police observe during the DUI investigation they may decide to make a DUI arrest.

So, how does one avoid this scenario? Do all of your texting before you enter the car and drive with a hands free cell phone apparatus.

In conclusion, I hope you find this informative. Stay tuned for the next blog.

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