We all have our wish lists for Christmas, but no one is hoping Santa will bring a DUI. DUIs are dangerous, expensive, and time consuming. They take the cheer out of the holiday season.
Unfortunately, DUIs are common this time of year. Local law enforcement agencies are on heightened alert during this season, a notorious time for people to drive impaired after celebrating the holidays, with emphasis patrols.
In Washington State, 3,043 DUI/Physical Control Misdemeanor charges were filed in December 2011 and 2,837 charges were filed in January 2012. This means over 5,000 people started out the New Year in a way that they wished they had not.
Road signs throughout Washington warn drivers against the perils of driving with a .08 or greater. However, to be convicted of a Washington DUI charge, the government must be able to prove that you either:
· Drove a motor vehicle and your breath or blood alcohol level was equal to or greater than a .08 within two hours of driving; or
· Drove a motor vehicle while affected by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
The “affected by” prong means that if the prosecutor believes they can prove that you were “affected by” alcohol, they will proceed on a DUI case even if your breath or blood test result was less than a .08. It is not uncommon to see drivers charged with DUI even with a breath or blood test result well under .08 and we have represented many such clients over the years.
How do you prevent Santa from bringing a DUI? If you have been consuming alcohol, we recommend that you take a cab home or find alternative transportation. We have created a free app to help you, as a driver, keep yourself and others safe this holiday season. Our app is designed to help you when you are out to prevent a costly DUI that could have serious, damaging, long-term consequences! The app's features are:
· Breath test calculator to help make sure you don't drink too much.
· Cab company phone number if you have had one too many.
· Information to give to the police in case above not followed!
· Our phone number for an emergency.
Remember that you have the right to speak to an attorney before making a decision to take or refuse a breath or blood test. Failure of law enforcement to advise you of this right may lead to the suppression of your breath or blood test results or any allegation that you refused the test.
You have an absolute right to refuse to incriminate yourself by making statements. If your case went to trial, the prosecutor and officer would not be allowed even to mention the fact that you were asked questions and did not answer.
The police are required by law to give you a reasonable opportunity to contact an attorney by phone. In many areas there is an on-call attorney assigned to take these phone calls at all hours of the day and night.
DUIs are the most preventable crime there is. However, we understand that during the holiday season people sometimes make mistakes. Hopefully you won't need our services, but we are here to help if you do.