Happy New Year! It’s time to celebrate the end of 2015 and the start of a new year! Enjoy your celebration this evening but remember to drink responsibly. DUI patrols are out in increased numbers, perhaps more than any other night of the year.
You do not want to start out 2016 with a DUI charge. Remember that a DUI is more than just a party foul. You could be looking at driver’s license suspension, large fines, jail time, and the long term impacts of a criminal record.
As always, we encourage you to use our party planning tips to stay safe during your New Year’s Eve celebrations. We also want you to be fully prepared. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are driving under the influence and being pulled over, you need to know what to do. Please review the information below before you set out to celebrate tonight.
*Party Planning Tips:
- 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.
- Consider using 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.
*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 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.