5 ways you can avoid a DUI over the Holidays
As the holiday season approaches, the number of arrests for DUI offenses rises and so too does the number of police officers looking to catch drunk drivers.
Everyone is aware that driving under the influence of both alcohol and recreational drugs is illegal. However, as the only American law which is a crime by degree, driving under the influence can be a much more complicated line to tread and stay within the limits of the law.
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Running the Risk
Many people are lured into sharing a quick drink to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. This can be particularly risky as it’s impossible to know exactly when your blood alcohol content level (bac) crosses the line from legal to illegal proportions.
While there is an advised guide regarding the amount you can safely consume to remain within the limits, this is only a guide and can’t be used as a relevant defense under prosecution.
A number of different factors and conditions affect the way our bodies absorb and are affected by alcohol. What can be a safe amount one day could be an excessive amount the next for the same person. Once alcohol is in your system, the only thing which will diminish its effects is the passage of time.
There’s also a strong argument for not succumbing to peer pressure. A fruit juice or other non-alcoholic alternative is always available for you to choose instead of something alcoholic.
Ways You Can Avoid a DUI:
1. Sleep it Off
For those that decide to drink alcohol, the only guaranteed way to avoid a criminal conviction is to abstain from driving or operating a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol. Taking public transport or a taxi home, or staying a hotel for the night are sensible options if you do decide to drink.
While many people are tempted to sleep in their car, great care needs to be taken to with this option. A police officer who finds someone asleep at the wheel of a stationary vehicle can make an arrest on the grounds of intent to drive.
This is especially true if the keys to the vehicle are either in the person’s possession or in the ignition, even if the intention was only to use the car’s heating system. Sleeping in the back seat is recommended as is placing the keys in a safe location away from temptation if you do choose to take this route. The best option is to arrange somewhere to sleep the night before, whether it be at a friends house or in a hotel.
2. Provide no Reason for Probable Cause
If you do suspect there’s any possibility you could be breaching the legal limit from behind the steering wheel, it’s critical not to draw attention to yourself. Other than organized police checkpoints employed to screen drivers passing the control point, an officer must have reasonable cause to stop and investigate a suspected offender.
Therefore, if an officer has no reason to suspect you, he won’t stop, test or arrest you either. The most common reasons to stop a driver include:
- Mechanical problems with the vehicle
- Erratic driving behavior
- Driving without headlights or due care and attention to road signs
- Use of mobile phones or other electronic devices
- Failure to correctly signal or stop before making a maneuver
As such, ensuring that any type of vehicle which you’re in is in full working order is even more crucial than normal. So too is your levels of concentration, with your full attention required to be focusing on the road to avoid any potential minor infringement which could cause you to stand out to anyone observing you.
3. Keep it Civilized
If you find yourself stopped and faced with answering to an officer you need to remain calm, composed and in control. The best advice is also to remain as friendly and polite as possible. You need to be able to hold your own ground, however, doing so obstinately will severely aggravate the situation and cause the officers to search you more thoroughly or cite you for an alternative offense.
It’s also crucial not to implicate yourself in a loose statement or action. Stating that you haven’t been drinking will greatly weaken your position if a test later shows that to be a lie while admitting you have consumed alcohol can provide an officer with a significant reason to carry out a road-side sobriety test.
Silence can be your best friend, using only simple yes and no answers to avoid incrimination. Ultimately you need to find a way to be helpful and providing you drivers documentation and insurance certificates with a smile before they request them is the perfect way to begin your interaction.
4. Know your Rights
It’s a thin line between being too relaxed and overly friendly and appearing belligerent, obnoxious or arrogant. Any of these characteristics are likely to raise a flag and create a suspicion of guilt. Control is the fundamental attribute to focus on as your self-control will reflect the perceived level of control you have over your vehicle.
Immediately after stopping you should switch off the engine and turn on the interior light to put the officer at ease. Winding down your window and keeping your hands clearly visible will also assure the officer that you are not of any threat.
When being questioned, knowing your entitlements will be a huge help to your situation. You can refuse a breath test before any arrest is made and similarly, any requests to perform a physical roadside sobriety test can be politely declined.
Chemical tests such as blood and urine testing are a more complicated issue with your rights varying from State-to-State, however, like breath test, they should be performed immediately upon requested after an arrest has been made. Full compliance becomes mandatory or you risk much harsher penalties when your case is heard.
Upon arrest, your first priority should also be to seek legal counsel. This is not an admission of guilt in any way but it will be hugely beneficial in navigating your way out of your situation.
5. Hire a Specialized DUI Lawyer
There are several other legal tricks that can be employed to help ease a situation following an arrest. These can include arguing a rising blood alcohol count, clerical errors and breaks from procedure during the course of the arrest or even the maintenance schedule of any equipment used to test your alcohol levels.
With the circumstances surrounding every legal case being unique, it requires a professional and experienced lawyer to unpick the charge against you. The cost of hiring the best criminal attorney may be expensive but so too is the financial cost incurred from a successful prosecution.
Within Maui, Hawaii, the legal team at Cain and Herren offer an unrivaled service in defending DUI cases. If you’re currently facing prosecution or arrest for a drink-drive related incident, contact them immediately for a consultation which could seriously reduce or resolve any legal problems that you’re facing.
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