Tis the season of holiday cheer, and with less than a week until Christmas, celebrations are in full force. Unfortunately, the most wonderful time of the year is also a time for DWI arrests. Below is a list of the best tips to enjoy a conviction-free Yuletide.
1. Easy on the Eggnog.
We can all agree that eggnog is delicious. But this holiday drink is dangerous. Eggnog can have anywhere between 14-20% ABV. This means that just a few glasses can put you well over the .08 legal limit. If you plan on driving after the office Christmas party, pay attention to how much alcohol you are consuming and at what intervals.
2. Drive Nice, Not Naughty
Most people arrested for a DWI are pulled over for violation of another traffic law, and not simply because they appear to be driving intoxicated. Common offenses include speeding, illegal turns or lane changes, failing to signal, or swerving. If you’re driving home after a drink or two, make sure that you are following all traffic laws.
Along these same lines, it is important that you have a current registration on your vehicle and all lights are in working order. So often people are pulled over because a tail light is out or they have an expired registration. A seemingly innocent citation could become a full-fledged DWI investigation if you are not careful.
3. Make it a Silent Night.
If you are pulled over and suspected of DWI, the most important thing you can do is invoke your right to remain silent. Beyond providing an officer your identifying information, you do not have to tell the officer where you were coming from, what you were drinking, or how much you had to drink. Politely tell the officer that you decline to answer his questions.
4. Refuse the Milk and Cookies.
As previously mentioned, you can refuse to answer certain questions that an officer asks you. It is also important to know that you can refuse to submit to the standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs).
Many officers will try to tell you that if you pass the SFSTs, you’ll be free to go. Don’t fall for this trap. Rarely is anyone ever released following the SFSTs. The SFSTs are an additional way in which the officer and prosecutor can prove you are intoxicated. For example, you could lose your balance while performing the one leg stand. Does this mean you are intoxicated? No, it doesn’t. However, an officer is going to use your inability to balance against you as evidence that you are intoxicated.
5. Call on a One Horse Open Sleigh
Well, not really (unless you want to). But, the best way to avoid a DWI arrest and conviction is to avoid drinking and driving altogether. Call an Uber, Lyft, or Santa for a ride home after a night of holiday festivities.
Don’t let a DWI charge take away from the magic of your holiday season. If your jingle bells are in a bind, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help guide you through this process. Contact me today.