I went to an art opening on a Saturday afternoon and I had one glass of wine. Unfortunately, I had an empty stomach so the odor of alcohol was on my breath. I was driving home, it was about 5 pm. I took the highway exit I normally take. Here is what the exit is like: there are two lanes; one lane if you want to go left, and one lane if you want to go right. There is a traffic light at the bottom of the exit. There is also a traffic light to the left and right of the exit. There are two lane to turn right onto. The exit ramp, right hand lane broadens at the bottom but there is no dividing line indicating where you should be depending on whether you are turning extreme right or broad right. The light was red when I got to the bottom of the ramp. I was taking the broad right turn; I was slightly angled to the right, in other words, my vehicle was not on the extreme left of the turn lane but angled slightly more right. ( I have since observed that approximately 90% of the cars using this exit and intending to take a broad right do exactly what I was doing that day). I could not make a right turn on red because cars were already lined up at the other red light that is placed to the right after you make the turn. I was waiting for a green light. Suddenly, a very large SUV pulled up right beside me...really close. I could not see around it to look left so I slightly pulled forward. I did not know it was a sheriff's dept vehicle.
Finally the light turned green and I made my broad right turn, then came to the next light, which was green at this point, and turned left. That's when I saw the blue lights behind me, so I pulled into the grocery store parking lot to my right. I had no idea why I was being pulled over, but I knew my breath smelled like alcohol, what could I do?
So, the sheriff deputy said he couldn't figure out why I had not turned right on red and wondered what was wrong. I tried to explain to him what I was doing and he said "don't argue with me"...ok.
He apparently thought I was too far over right in the turning lane and he thought I was trying to make an extreme right hand turn and because I didn't do that, I was causing a backup of, get this, two cars. He told me had pulled up beside me to ask me what I was doing...and he was going to go around me or something like that. (I was supposed to notice that he had rolled down his window after dark in a vehicle that was two stories higher than mine?) This is crazy! He actually was endangering me by blocking my view and planning on doing something close to illegal and it was all because I did not turn right on red fast enough. (I checked the law; turning right on red is NOT a mandate, it is a permission slip). Well of course he then smelled my breath and asked me if I had been drinking. I said I had one glass of wine at an art opening. He said, one glass? I said yes.
Of course, he called in a second car. They went back to his gigantic vehicle and kept me sitting for 45 minutes. (I have an absolutely clean driving record). Then they came back and said they were giving me a warning and then he smelled my breath again and that's when they decided to give me breathalyzer test. I was really frightened; I had no idea what it would show as I am rather small and who knows what one glass of wine would do. Anyway, I scored a 0.01, which is the lowest you can score short of 0.00. The deputy then proceeded to tell me that in NC you could be charged if you have any alcohol in your system, even what I scored. Lordy, I was really scared; he finally let me go. When I got home and read the warning, it was for unsafe movement...wtf....I was sitting at a red light minding my own business waiting for it to be safe to turn right and he gets me for unsafe movement?
I was seriously traumatized by this because I did nothing wrong and I was pulled over and given a breathalyzer test for one glass of wine. (I live in a town known as beer city...they could stop every car on the road and give out citations if they wanted to do that). Every time I see a sheriff's deputy vehicle my stomach clenches up...they could decide to pull me over for anything!! I'm afraid to even go out for one beer or glass of wine with friends because the law is different for me. I'm serious, the town is half drunk and stoned all of the time! I even said something to the deputy about beer city and he said, they should have a designated driver..for one beer???!! He'd put the town out of business.
That's my story, and it sucks.
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