It’s been over a year since my last encounter with the law.
Last night I got stopped by the police as I drove out of a pub car park, and thus started my most recent encounter with the law…
The policeman explained he’d seen me pull out of the pub car park and wanted to breathalyze me. I knew I was OK, I’m not a drinker, but as I stepped into the back of the police car I suddenly started to get really paranoid. By the time I got the result I had convinced myself I was going to get banged up, where I would, “get raped in the showers by Mr Big who’s in with the warders” (quote from Rick Mayal in the The Young Ones). I was ready to confess to just about anything to get a lighter sentence… 🙂
In the UK, the breathalyzers have four lights that show the results:
And my result was… Zero!
Hardly surprising, but a relief anyway. So I’m not in prison and I still have a driving license. 🙂
Update: Based on one of the comments, I’d just like to clarify something. The only reason I was stopped was because I was leaving a pub car park in a car. In the UK, it’s perfectly normal to be given a Breathalyzer test if you are stopped by the police. They don’t usually bother making you perform a circus act to test balance etc. Just making sure people didn’t think I was driving erratically or failing to walk in a straight line. 🙂
13 thoughts on “Another encounter with the law…”
>> I was ready to confess to just about anything to get a lighter sentence…
It’s a good thing that you are a law abiding fellow . . . . .
>> I suddenly started to get really paranoid.
Hey, sometimes they “are” out to get you . . . .
Odd. Normally they only use such equipment to confirm/verify their own observations. Was your speech slurred? Did you appear intoxicated in any way?
If this device had said you were intoxicated (due to a programming bug, no doubt), but you clearly, plainly weren’t, they were planning on giving you a citation? Weird.
To Rob V, you dont live in England – so what you think is the law isn’t true, and what you think ‘normally’ happens is irrelevant. They can breathalse anyone, if they see you driving out of a pub it’s a damn good reason to pull you over as *most* people would have been drinking in there. To be over the limit your speech doesnt have to be slurred, only takes one drink to put some people over the limit.
If you have been deemed a fail, software bug or not then you don’t get a ‘citation’, you will get arrested, taken to a police station and given a much more accurate test. If you fail that you will find yourself in court the next morning after spending the night in the cells.
Also the breathlysers do not have software bugs, they work.
Different countries have different ways of dealing with things. When the police stop us, we can get out of the car without fear of being shot. 🙂 The only suspicious thing I was doing was leaving a pub car park in a car…
I’ve seen the stuff they do in the states (Rob I know you’re from Canada, not the USA), like make you walk a line and balance on one leg etc. Unfortunately, some people can cope real well with that stuff even if they are over the legal limit. The Breathalyzer is quicker and more accurate for an “on the street” test.
I have to agree with Dave, I think catching people as they leave pubs is a great idea. That way, if someone is over the limit you stop them before they have a chance to injure someone, or themselves.
I’m not sure about the UK, but in Belgium there’s a clear difference between two different offences: “Drunk in public” and “driving a vehicle intoxicated”.
If they arrest you for “Drunk in public”, you always get away with sleeping in a cell until you’re sober… the police are just protecting you from doing anything stupid like crossing the street on your hands and knees. Rest assured, you *really* have to be hammered before this happens!
For being breathalised (checking intoxication), you don’t need to be show any suspicious behaviour… sometimes they just set up roadblocks and stop 1 car out of X (depending on how busy it is).
FYI: My dad who is a cop, once had to stop somebody who showed drunk behaviour, had no alcohol in his blood stream, and not a single drug. He was apparently exhausted, even too exhausted to remember where he lived. After a couple of hours sleep at the station, they found out that he lived 2 blocks from the station 😉
Mike, that’s pretty much the same in the UK. I think it’s called “Drunk and Disorderly” in the UK for the general rat-arsed on the street thing.
I think the driving when tired thing is a really big problem! How do you police it though?
Didn’t mean to upset anyone Dave, are you a cop?
I still think it’s strange to detain, inconvenience and test someone who is showing absolutely no signs of intoxication. And it sounds like it wasn’t even a random test, but targetted towards this particular pub and its patrons.
The police in the UK often have campaigns targeted for different offenses. A few years back they did quite a lot of stopping every X cars to check their lights. They often have drink-drive campaigns, especially around holidays like Christmas. I guess I was just coming out of this car park when he was driving past, or perhaps he was asked to watch that pub for the night. Who knows?
Anyway Robert, I can assure you I didn’t look, sound or drive like I was drunk, because I wasn’t. 🙂
You’re drunk right now, aren’t you Tim? Admit it! 🙂
Old comment I made about this: http://groups.google.com/group/ca.driving/browse_thread/thread/6a49bf2df4487f5a/7c543dad219e4384?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1#7c543dad219e4384 California specific, but I thought it was interesting. Of course, I would think my own comment is interesting. 🙂
CAN ANYONE WHO RUNS AN ORGANIZATION BRING IN THE BREATHALIZER AND CAN ANYONE BREATHALIZE YOU OR DO THEY HAVE TO HAVE QUALIFICATIONS.
Well, the police can stop and Breathalyze anyone at pretty much any time in the UK.
You can buy them yourself, but I don’t know how accurate they are compared to the ones used by the police. I guess if a company tried to check you, they might be infringing your civil rights, but you shouldn’t be drinking at work anyway…
The police in the UK often have campaigns targeted for different offenses.the police can stop and Breathalyze anyone at pretty much any time in the UK.
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