Finalizing your plans for Memorial Day Weekend 2017? In California, this usually means a trip to the beach, a picnic under the sun, a day spent at a theme park, or a jaunt up or downstate to visit friends and family. For law enforcement departments and officials around the country, though, Memorial Day Weekend is prime time to catch intoxicated drivers in the act. The rate of driving under the influence (DUI) arrests spikes this weekend every year. But it doesn’t have to.
Here’s a few smart ways to avoid drinking and driving, and therefore avoid a DUI:
- Designated driver: The tried and true method of avoiding a DUI arrest is assigning a designated driver (DD) for the night. Whoever is that person in your group must not drink a drop of alcohol that night. Big mistakes happen when the DD has “just one drink” but ends up just as tipsy as everyone else. Never attempt to drive a vehicle when intoxicated, and do not let a friend drink and drive.
- Key collection: If you are going to a Memorial Day Weekend party, then consider asking the host if he or she will collect the keys of anyone who drove there. A sober individual will be in charge of the keys – some parties call this person the Warden – and will only hand them back to people if they are also sober.
- Ridesharing: Did you know that nearly every modern day smartphone has a ridesharing app preinstalled on it? It’s true. Unless you intentionally deleted it, you most likely have Uber on your cellphone. If you don’t, it is recommended you download it, Lyft, or another similar app now. Ridesharing makes it easy to get taxi service when and where you need it, ensuring you can get home without needing to drive drunk.
- Room and board: Can you stay at your host’s home if you get too drunk to drive safely? It is worth asking before the event begins so you know all of your options. Some people like to get a hotel room nearby to spend Friday or Saturday night on Memorial Day Weekend and drive back home the following morning, even if they do not live too far from the event.
- One hour, one drink: Sometimes oversights happen and you will have too many drinks at a party or get-together. Without realizing it, you are feeling too drunk to drive but absolutely cannot spend the night at the current location. Remember that the average person metabolizes one average alcoholic drink – a can of beer or a shot of hard liquor – in one hour to 90 minutes. If you had three drinks that night, wait at least three hours before seeing if you feel sober enough to drive. Get plenty of water into your system, too, as alcohol will dehydrate you, which can worsen the effects of intoxication. This should be your last resort, not a first choice.
Memorial Day Checkpoints & Police Prejudice
Highway patrol agencies will set up sobriety stops or checkpoints around major intersections and highway off ramps. Anyone going through these checkpoints could be subjected to field sobriety testing or an arrest. In Santa Rosa, where the o Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. is located, the 101 freeway and the 12 highway are hot spots for sobriety stops. You can also expect increased police traffic Memorial Day Weekend around Santa Rosa Junior College.
The problem with sobriety checkpoints is that people sober enough to drive, or entirely sober, can and do get arrested for a DUI. Checkpoints create the expectation in police that just about everyone going through there is a drunk driver. This assumption can lead to an unjustified increase in DUI arrests, especially when considering that a driver does not need to be over 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to be arrested and convicted of a DUI. If a driver’s BAC is above 0.00% and the police officer believes he or she is a danger on the road, a DUI arrest could be warranted.
If you get stopped and arrested for a DUI in Santa Rosa or Sonoma County this Memorial Day Weekend, let the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. help defend your rights and driving privilege. Your arrest might be the result of police prejudice, or the demand to fill an arrest quota. Our law firm can critically analyze the situation and build your defense, backed by our years of DUI defense experience and winning record.
Call 707.418.5352 to request a free initial consultation.