It is a weekend to celebrate! Seattle’s LGBT Pride events seek to create unity, celebrate culture, and honor diversity.
With big celebrations, there is often an abundance of alcohol. We wish you a joyous weekend but urge you to take precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe. Remember that a DUI is more than just a party foul!
We urge you to understand what is at stake if you choose to drink and drive:
- Driving under the influence puts at risk your own life and the lives of others.
- You could also be looking at large fines, jail time, drivers’ license suspension, and the long term impacts of a criminal record. Please see our prior post for a list of the current penalties and fines for DUI convictions in Washington State.
- Employment, relationships, and immigration are other areas that can be adversely affected
Before you set out to celebrate, please review our party planning tips to help you stay safe:
- Choose to drive sober or designate someone else to. If you are the designated driver, don’t drink.
- Plan ahead: Save the number of a taxi or rideshare company in your phone so you will always have a backup plan.
- Use smartphone apps like Lyft or Uber.
- Consider a limo or party bus if you are going out with a large group of drinkers.
- If you have been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use a rideshare company, or use public transportation to get home safely.
- If you know others who are about to drive under the influence, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.
If you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI, what you do next is essential:
- Be polite to the officer
- Don’t admit to drinking or using any substances. Do not answer questions about where you came from or anything else.If the officer asks, stay silent or tell him you would prefer to speak to an attorney before answering questions. Admission can be used against you later in court, but your silence or request for counsel cannot. Don’t answer any questions without speaking to legal counsel first.
- Don’t complete field tests. Drivers have no obligation to submit to any field sobriety tests or answer any questions by the officer. Until you are officially detained and charged with a DUI, you have the right to refrain from all of this. The officer is looking for evidence against you and it is never a good idea to give it to them. See our web link for more detailed information about declining field sobriety tests.
- Do I take the official breath test at the station? Under Washington State’s Implied Consent Law, you have already consented to breath or blood test. Ask to speak with an attorney before you take the test. The consequences of refusing the tests are often harsher than the consequences of taking them.
- Ask to contact an attorney as soon as possible. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.
- If you are under 21 and arrested for a DUI, there are other factors to be aware of. See our web link for additional information about Minor DUI in the State of Washington.