Even those who take really good care of their cars may suffer from a broken taillight. Maybe the bulb just went out. Maybe the light was damaged in some way. These things happen, and drivers need to replace the lights when they do.
This is important for a lot of reasons, including reducing the odds of an accident, but you may also want to consider the fact that a broken taillight could lead to a charge for drunk driving. While it may seem like a stretch that such a minor issue could cause you to get a DWI, you simply have to consider how this chain of events may play out.
The police need a reason to stop your car
The thing to remember is that the police cannot randomly stop vehicles on the road and check to see if the drivers are impaired or not. They must have some sort of reason.
As such, the police will sometimes look for minor issues, such as a broken taillight, to pull someone over. This is a valid reason for the traffic stop, as it’s technically illegal to drive with the light out. When the officer comes up to talk to the driver, however, they may notice the smell of alcohol or think that the driver is slurring their words. This traffic stop can escalate into a DWI arrest.
In fact, some police officers may look for excuses to stop cars at times when they think that drunk driving is more likely, such as late at night. Even something as small as a broken taillight could be enough for them to pull you over and check to see if you’re sober.
If you do find yourself accused of a DWI after a traffic stop, it is important to understand the legal steps you can take to protect your rights and your future interests.