Most traffic infractions do not lead to criminal records, and many drivers in New England may not believe that a speeding ticket or other citation will cause any lasting problems. However, if a driver has consumed alcohol, the likely outcome is a DWI charge.
How a traffic violation can lead to a DWI
The police cannot always identify intoxicated motorists from their driving actions alone, and they cannot legally pull a driver over until they have a valid reason or suspicion to do so. When drivers break traffic laws, such as making illegal turns or ignoring traffic lights and posted speed limits, they draw attention to themselves. Traffic stops are part of a multidisciplinary approach law enforcement uses to identify people who are driving while intoxicated.
Often, people are uncomfortable during encounters with law enforcement, and they may be unaware of what their legal rights are during traffic stops. When the police pull a driver over, they are acting on the driving behavior they have witnessed, along with possible vehicle-related issues such as expiration license plates. The police will interrogate motorists and gather visual and physical evidence, including statements to determine if a driver is under the influence of a substance and in violation of any laws. Many drivers do not know their right to stay silent also applies to traffic stops, and politely refusing to answer questions could help them avoid further suspicion and legal action that could result in DWI charges.
Traffic stops lead to DWI charges all the time because they provide law enforcement with a valid reason to pull a driver over. DWIs that occur from traffic violation stops often have very serious outcomes, such as jail time, a criminal record, the loss of driving privileges and other lingering consequences.