The very best way to avoid a DUI this Fourth of July weekend is to not drink and drive. However, this weekend family and friends will gather for barbecues and pool parties to celebrate. Unfortunately, law enforcement sees the holiday weekend as one with a high volume of DUI-related arrests and accidents, and as a criminal defense attorney, it is one of our most busy weekends. Everyone needs to know for certain, that police will be out in full force.  Take extra precautions so you don’t find yourself saddled with a DUI charge, and most importantly to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.

The best way to avoid a DUI charge is to not drink and drive.  There is no easy way to know how many drinks will put you over the legal limit. You might feel sober or maybe just “buzzed” but that doesn’t guarantee your blood alcohol level is under the legal limit. Your blood alcohol level depends on many factors like your height, weight, how much you are eating, how fast you drink, whether you are on medications, how fast your metabolism is, etc. Your best bet to avoid drunk driving if you plan to get behind the wheel is just not to drink.

If you are pulled over, even if you are sober or have had only one drink, police behind you with lights flashing will rattle you.  Pull over safely and if it’s nighttime, put your interior lights on. Keep your seat belt on. When the officer approaches your car, open your window half way and be polite saying as little as possible. When pulled over, you are under their control, but this does not mean you are under arrest. You are only required to provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. You will be watched at how you show your license – did you fumble – did you hand over the wrong ID, etc, to determine if you exhibit any signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your eyes will be looked at to see if they are glossy or red. Keep in mind, the most sober of us can be nervous with police at our window that we often make mistakes. It is normal to be confused about your rights and obligations when you are pulled over by the police and to be scared.

The officer will most likely start a line of questioning—asking where you are coming from, where you are going, what your earlier activities were, etc. They seem innocent, but giving the cops more information could only give them more reason to detain you. Of course, the longer you are detained, the greater your chances of being arrested. A good criminal defense attorney will tell you the best thing to do is politely refuse to answer questions or engage in a conversation. But, to be polite and silent even if you are asked why you don’t want to speak or are told only the guilty refuse to talk to police. These are tricks and you do not need to answer.

The Bottom Line: You’ve just had a couple beers and you had plenty to eat on at the barbecue. You feel fine to drive and you are definitely n not drunk. You can even still walk a straight line. Your speech is not even slurred and you’ve got your wits about you. And, you are pretty close to home, not far to drive at all. Don’t do it.  If you do and you are pulled over, remain silent and call me: 513-260-2099