Preventing Holiday DUI Arrests
The holidays are a festive time. We attend holiday parties with friends and family, and we meet up at bars and restaurants to relax. While it is fine to enjoy a few drinks over the holidays, it is so important to remember not to drink and drive.
The holiday season is also nicknamed “DUI season” by law enforcement and for good reason. DUI arrests drastically increase around Christmas, and they increase even more over New Years. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 45 people die every day during the holiday season. With statistics as sobering as these, it is important to do all you can to avoid a DUI and risky driving behaviors altogether. The following are the six most important things you can do to avoid a holiday DUI in Pittsburgh.
- Never drive after having any alcohol. It may seem obvious, but so many people underestimate their impairment after having just one or two drinks and find themselves arrested for a DUI. The safest thing to do is to only drive when you know for a fact that you are 100 percent sober.
- Set up a sober driver rotation, so there is always a designated driver. If you commonly go out with the same group of people, take turns being the sober driver. Make sure that that person does not have anything to drink on his or her night to drive, and take your own night just as seriously. It sometimes can help to offer to pay for nonalcoholic drinks for the designated driver or to chip in for dinner.
- Take a cab or get a ride with Uber. It may be a pain to shell out the money for a ride to and from the bar, but it costs way less than a DUI. If you use it both ways, you are ensuring safer choices when you have been drinking. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your car.
- Make sure to eat while you drink. If you do choose to have a drink and then sober up to drive, make sure you also eat something in order to slow the rate of alcohol absorption.
- Switch to water, soda or another alcoholic drink at least two hours before you plan to leave the party. This will allow any alcohol still in your system to leave it before you get on the road. Remember, though, this isn’t true if you drink heavily before this time.
- Don’t leave the party too late at night. Drowsiness can impair your reflexes as badly as alcohol. The combination of both can be deadly. Make sure you are not driving while you are sleepy, or you may find yourself pulled over even after not drinking at all.
What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for a Pittsburgh DUI This Holiday Season
Unfortunately, even if you are responsible, you may be pulled over for a DUI this season. Maybe it is a routine stop, but even if you are confident that you are not over the legal limit, it is important to keep in mind the following tips to make sure that you are less likely to be charged with a serious crime.
- Remember your right to remain silent. Police will most likely ask you questions that could be incriminating if you are arrested. The best thing to do is to only tell the officer your name, hand over any requested ID and registration, and politely decline to respond to other questions. Anything else you say can and will be used against you, so don’t give the police any further cause to arrest you.
- Do not consent to field sobriety tests. Police officers may ask you to take a field sobriety test where you walk a line and touch your nose to prove that you are sober. These tests are highly subjective, though, and not required by law. You are better off declining to do so.
- Be polite to the officer who pulls you over. It is so important not to get angry or belligerent. Not only does this make officers more likely to want to arrest you, but it also can be used as evidence of your impairment later.
- You only are required to take a chemical test of your blood alcohol level if you are under arrest in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s implied consent law states that if you are arrested due to probable cause that you were driving under the influence, you automatically consent to a blood, breath, or urine BAC test. If you are under arrest and refuse, you can have your license revoked for a year. Just remember this is only true after officers already have probable cause and arrested you.
- Contact a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer right away if you are arrested. You have a right to representation, and you should avail yourself of it right away. A lawyer not only will be able to get you out of jail, but also challenge any evidence used to arrest you that may not have given sufficient probable cause.
While we hope you never have to use this second set of tips, it is important to know your rights just in case. If you are arrested for a Pittsburgh DUI this holiday season, we are always on call at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC. Call us 24/7 at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation on your case with one of our Pittsburgh DUI attorneys. We know how difficult and stressful this can be, and will do anything we can to get your case settled as quickly as possible with the best outcome available.