A FEW TIPS TO AVOID A DUI – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
As a result of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, police departments around the State will be setting up DUI checkpoints and ramping up enforcement efforts to curtail drinking and driving. You should understanding that it is never alright to drive when impaired and alcohol should always be used in moderation. However, even in moderation, you may find yourself in a situation where you are confronted by the police. If this occurs, remember these tips to avoid rather than create a situation.
• Before driving make sure that your registration, insurance and license are easily accessible to avoid the appearance that you are confused or fumbling for your paperwork.
• Open your window immediately upon being stopped or entering a checkpoint line. Regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed, there will be an odor. Lowering your window will allow the odor to dissipate before the police arrive at your car window.
• You should always be respectful and answer direct questions with concise, direct answers. Do not volunteer information that is not be requested. “Where are you coming from?” should not result in a recap of your entire evening but rather a short answer such as “John’s Pub.”
• Listen before you act. Being overly eager could be viewed as “agitation” or “confusion” which are signs of intoxication. Also, field sobriety tests are not just to observe balance but also understanding. If you presume a direction and are incorrect, you are now “unable to follow directions” which is another sign of intoxication.
• Do not immediately ask for your lawyer. You have not right to counsel prior to performing field sobriety testing or consenting to a breathalyzer.
• If you are injured or suffer from a medical condition that will reduce your ability to perform the field tests, advise the police prior to undertaking the testing.
• Under no circumstance should you ever refuse to provide breath samples. Your refusal to provide breath samples will give rise to another offense which carry’s nearly the same penalties as the DUI itself.
• Avoid being conspicuous. Follow the traffic laws, stay off your phone, turn down the radio and go directly home. Stopping at the store or the diner provides greater opportunity for you to be observed or stopped.
• When in doubt, assume the worst and call a friend, family member or car service to drive you home. It not just about losing your license, it’s about your safety and the safety of others.