With holiday parties and festivities in full swing, many people will take the opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry. ‘Tis the season, right? It’s a festive time of year. Many people are out to enjoy themselves over a glass of eggnog or a holiday martini. Others are drinking due to holiday stress and pressure, or to combat the tension of family relationships.

Whatever the reason, people are generally drinking more during this time of year and inevitably there are increased numbers of drunk drivers on the road. As it would follow, more DUI arrests occur during the holidays than at any other time of year.

Nationwide, law enforcement is out in force, ready to arrest drunk drivers who put lives at risk this holiday season. There are likely to be increased DUI checkpoints and patrols. Between libatious holiday festivities and increased law enforcement, drivers who have been drinking are at high risk for DUI charges. We urge you to remember that a DUI will not only disrupt your holiday plans, it can have serious consequences on your future. You could be looking at drivers license suspension, large fines, jail time, and the long term impacts of a criminal record:

Dellino Law Group encourages you to use our party planning tips to stay safe during your holiday celebrations:

  • 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 friends who drink.
  • 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 of alcohol 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.
  • 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.