dui checkpoint min‘Tis the season for holiday parties!  The period between Thanksgiving and New Years is the busiest party time of the year, with family and friend get-togethers, as well as office and business holiday functions.  And with celebrations usually come alcoholic drinks.  According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 40% of traffic-related deaths, during this six-week period, involve drunk driving.

As we discussed in last month’s blog, law enforcement is hyper-vigilant during this period with increased patrols and sobriety check-points watching for impaired drivers.  Their goal is to keep everyone on the roads safe and this should be your goal too.  No one should drive drunk on any day of the year, but during the month of December, it’s especially important to be cautious and aware, and to do a little planning before celebrating to avoid becoming a DUI statistic.

Don’t drink and drive

This seems pretty obvious and simplistic, but common sense now can save you from a lot of trouble later on.  With a little planning ahead of time, you can enjoy the evening without worrying about how you’re going to get home safely.  The easiest way to avoid a DUI during the holidays is to either not drink if you are going to be driving, or have a plan to get home if you choose to drink.  Even if you live close by and think you can make it home safely, you’re putting both yourself and others at risk.  Just because you’re only going to be driving a few blocks doesn’t mean you won’t be stopped or even arrested for DUI.

You have several options:

  • Designate a driver who will not be drinking during the party to drive you home.
  • Take a cab, Uber, Lyft, or public transportation. A small fare is much less expensive than the cost of a DUI in Washington DC.
  • Book a room at a nearby hotel or plan to stay with the host or a friend.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to actually be over the legal limit to be arrested.  Even a small increase in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may cause an impact on your driving skills.  You can be stopped and arrested if the police deem, from observations, that you are impaired or driving unsafely.  You can even be arrested if you’re technically not driving at all.  Sitting in a car with the keys in the ignition and resting or “sleeping it off” on the side of the road, can lead to a DUI arrest.

Don’t rely on gimmicks to stay sober

We’ve all heard them and maybe even tried a few, but the facts do not support these “old wive’s tales.”  No two people absorb alcohol in the same way.  Gender, weight, metabolism, and medical conditions, like diabetes, all play a part in the way alcohol affects a person.  The only way to be sure it is safe for you to drive, is not to drink at all.  So, beware of the following advice:

  1. Eat plenty of food when drinking. Food does slow or delay the absorption of alcohol, but everyone’s metabolism is different.  You can’t rely on food to keep you sober.
  2. Stick to the one drink per hour rule. There’s no proof that an alcoholic drink is absorbed and eliminated from the human body in one hour.  Everyone’s tolerance for alcohol, as well as their metabolism, is different.
  3. Match each cocktail with a glass of water. There is no science behind this.  All we can say is that you probably won’t become dehydrated.
  4. Drink coffee before leaving the party. Caffeine may make you feel more alert, but it doesn’t neutralize the effects of alcohol on coordination or decision-making.
  5. Wait an hour after your last drink to drive. An average person’s BAC reduces by about 0.015% per hour.  It will take longer than most parties last for the average person’s BAC to get back to zero.
  6. Know your own limit. It is impossible to know how many cocktails you can have before surpassing the legal limit.  Too many physical factors come into play and your judgement to make good decisions is affected by alcohol.  Most often, people are unaware of how drunk they really are.

Contact Gretchen Taylor Pousson

If you are arrested for DUI, don’t compound this mistake by trying to explain your situation to the police and representing yourself.  Even a first-time offense may result in jail time, loss of driving privileges, significant fines and other negative consequences.  It is important to speak with a knowledgeable and skilled DC DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

If you’re looking for an experienced DUI law firm that will fight for your rights throughout the DUI criminal process, contact Gretchen Taylor Pousson, Trial Attorney.  Gretchen Taylor Pousson has successfully represented individuals throughout Washington D.C. who have been arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI. Contact us today at 202-765-3175 to discuss your case.