Warning: Don’t Spoil Your Holiday Season!

As you begin to wrap 2015 and spend some time celebrating, it’s important that you be proactive about the risks at hand. You and your loved ones are probably well aware of the risks of drunk driving. Its obvious, yet people continue to make the same mistakes year after year. Because of this, it’s important to know how to prevent the situation, or at least protect yourself during a traffic stop after you’ve been drinking.

Some quick tips to avoid drunk driving:

  1. Be aware of what you are drinking. One serving of beer is one 12 oz beer, yet one serving of liquor (at 80 proof) is only one 1.5 oz shot. Some drinks are stronger than others and you may not realize how much you’ve had to drink.
  2. Alcohol takes time to metabolize. On average, your blood alcohol will only decrease at .015 per hour after you stop drinking. This will vary per person, but its going to take a significant amount of time for anyone to sober up before driving.
  3. Coffee/caffeine is not going to speed up the process of metabolizing the alcohol you drank. So, no, you probably won’t be okay to drive after you drink some coffee.
  4. If you decide to drink at all, make other arrangements for yourself so that you do not have to drive. Stay where you choose to drink at, designate a sober driver, or call a taxi. A serious incident can easily be prevented with proper planning. Make it important to plan ahead.

In the event that you actually drive drunk and are involved in a traffic stop, you must know how to protect yourself. In all cases, its crucial to know your rights and consult with a criminal defense lawyer. However, you may not be able to contact an attorney right away. Therefore, take precautions and be knowledgeable about what you should and should not do.

During a DUI traffic stop, utilize these simple steps.

  1. First of all, be polite to the officer performing the traffic stop. Treating an officer poorly in any situation is only going to make your case worse.
  2. Do not consent or submit to any field-sobriety test, including a breathalyzer. You have the right to say no, and you should exercise it.
  3. Also, do not submit to any chemical tests. Once again, say no.
  4. Do not tell the officer how much alcohol you have consumed.
  5. You have the right against self-incrimination. You can choose to stay silent, politely tell the officer that you would rather not disclose any information until you have contacted an attorney.

There is still a possibility that you may be arrested for a DUI. If so, there are other ways for you to improve your case following the arrest:

  1. Practice your 5th amendment right to remain silent and avoid incriminating yourself any further.
  2. Gather any good character references, employment history, community service, school grades, etc.
  3. Take note of any witnesses or events that could also improve your case.
  4. Immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. It is crucial to your case that you retain a criminal defense lawyer that is experienced in DUI/DWI cases.

It’s not unlikely that yourself or someone you know could be put in this situation. In Wyoming alone, there were roughly 3,600 DUI arrests in 2014. During the holidays, the statistics only get worse. While we would like to encourage you all to prevent these situations, it cannot always be avoided. People make mistakes.  Therefore, it’s very important to know how to protect yourself or others in the event of a traffic stop while drinking and driving. Take precautions, plan ahead, and be well-informed. Exercise your right to say no, your right to remain silent, and avoid self-incrimination. In the event of an arrest or accident, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Happy Holidays to you all, from the attorneys at Plains Law Offices, LLP.

Stay safe, and stay blessed.

Disclaimer:As of this date, 12/19/15, all information within this article is accurate and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not rely on this information as it is possible for laws to change.