Holiday DUI Dos and Don’ts

      Avoiding a DUI

The number one thing I recommend to avoid getting DUI is to not drink and drive. Barring that, there are several important things to remember in order to avoid getting DUI. The first thing to think about is why you were stopped in the first place. Were you driving erratically (e.g., swerving, ran a stop sign, crossed the center line) or were you merely speeding. If you were stopped because you just ran over the curb then you might be in a little more trouble than the person who was speeding. One of the first things an officer/deputy is going to notice is your driving behavior. If you have been drinking, you need to be extra cautious while operating a motor vehicle.  This is just one  several ways to protect yourself from DUI.

The second indicator to think about is your appearance.  This is the time where an officer/deputy starts to develop probable cause to go farther in their DUI investigation.  Did you spill alcohol all over your clothes before you left the bar?  Do you look like you just climbed out of bed (e.g., blood shot eyes, hair standing straight up, shirt half untucked)?  This may seem silly but the truth of the matter is, an officer will list all of these things in their report to show you are guilty of DUI.  To me, a driver’s license is too important to lose over an untucked shirt.

The third indicator to think about is what you say and how you say it.  When I worked as a police officer, people would always feed me the same line when I asked how much alcohol they had consumed.  The answer was always two beers.  This was an automatic indicator that they were probably gonna blow a .15.  You always have the right to refrain from answering any question you feel will incriminate yourself.  On the same note, if you know your speech is slurred, only speak when spoken too.  It is like my mom used to say, God gave you two ears and one month, listen twice as much as you speak.

The fourth indicator of DUI is field sobriety tests (e.g.,horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, one leg stand).  If you do not feel comfortable taking a field sobriety test, it is okay to refuse.  When you refuse to take a field sobriety test, this takes a major chunk out of the prosecution’s case.  Without these tests, the prosecution has to rely on the officer’s observations of your driving and appearance.  This undercut their case significantly.

The fifth and final indicator of DUI is the Dräger Alcotest.  When you get to this point, you have probably been arrested.  That does not mean you will necessarily be convicted.  When it comes to taking the Dräger Alcotest, it is okay to refuse.  In fact I would recommend you refuse.  There is one caveat to refusal.  The state will automatically suspend your license for 90 days with a refusal.

         Summary

1)     Be aware of how you are driving.

2)     Think about your appearance.

3)    Try not to talk too much.

4)     Remember you do not have to take a field sobriety test.

5)     Breathalyzers are not always reliable.