St Patrick’s Day commonly involve shades of green, shamrocks, good luck, and fun, festive celebrations. However, this holiday also brings some of the HIGHEST rates of drunk driving.
Many St. Paddy’s Day festivities will occur this weekend, and more next week on March 17th. During this period, from March 12-17, extra law enforcement will be out in force nationwide and they will be looking to crack down on impaired drivers.
Remember that a DUI is more than just a party foul. You could be looking at driver’s license suspension, large fines, jail time, the long term impacts of a criminal record, and much worse. You do not want your celebration to be overshadowed by tragedy. Driving under the influence of alcohol puts at risk your own life and the lives of others.
Before you set out to celebrate, please review our party planning tips to help you stay safe.
*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.
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.
*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.
- 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.