Here is a reminder to those engaging in St. Patrick’s Day festivities to drink responsibly and choose a designated driver. In addition to shamrocks, leprechauns, and good luck, St. Paddy’s Day also brings high rates of drunk driving. Extra law enforcement will be out in Kent and the rest of King County over St Patrick’s Day weekend, from March 13-17, and they will be looking to crack down on impaired drivers.

*Use these party planning tips to stay safe during St. Patrick’s Day festivities:

  • Plan to drive sober or designate someone else to. If you are the designated driver, don’t drink. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages
  • Save the number of a taxi or rideshare company in your phone so you always have a backup plan.
  • Consider using smartphone apps such as Sidecar or Uber. This weekend and on St. Patrick’s Day, first time riders can use the promotion code RIDESAFE2015 to receive fare discounts through these apps. First time Uber riders can get a free Uber ride home (up to $20) with this promotion code. First time Sidecar riders can use the code to receive a $15 ride credit this holiday weekend.
  • If you are impaired, 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 while impaired, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.

It is also essential to be prepared. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are driving under the influence and being pulled over, you should know how to handle it.

*Use these tips for what to do if you are pulled over for a DUI in Washington State:

  • As soon as you see a police car trying to pull you over, pull over to the right as safely as possible. Turn off your radio, put your car in park, and have your license, registration, and insurance ready when the officer approaches.
  • 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 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.
  • Don’t answer any questions without speaking to legal counsel first. Again, they are looking for evidence against you.
  • 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 your 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.