A DUI is more than just an unfortunate end to a night out. There can be very serious consequences.  In addition to the tragic risk of injury or death to yourself or those around you, you could be looking at driver’s license suspension, large fines, jail time, and the long term impacts of a criminal record. Employment, immigration status, and reputation are also on the line.

Abby Wambach, retired World Cup soccer champion, is facing the potential ramifications of a DUI after being arrested earlier this week for investigation of driving under the influence. King 5 News reported that she was stopped by police in Portland, Oregon and subsequently failed sobriety tests and a breath test. She was booked and then released on her own recognizance. Wambach, world record holder for international goals scored, posted a statement on her Facebook page, issuing apology to her fans, friends, and family, and taking responsibility for her actions.

It is common to see celebrities in the news for DUI arrests. The truth is, it can happen to anyone who dares to drink and drive. In an interesting CNN Op-Ed this week, personal injury and criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos describes that DUI defendants come from all walks of life – CEOs, teachers, grandmothers, anyone. Cavallos discusses the phenomenon of why people who are otherwise law abiding may get arrested for driving under the influence and suggests there are different social standards around drinking and driving versus other crimes. With a .08 blood alcohol content limit, the law leaves room for “responsible drinking and driving”, sending substantial mixed messages throughout society.

Cavallos also calls Wambach’s DUI a “crime that makes no sense”, suggesting that in today’s world there is just no good reason for it to happen. He states this not because of moral or legal issues, but because companies like Uber and Lyft make it cheaper and easier than ever to avoid. Please see this link for the full Op-Ed article and further details of Cavallos interesting and insightful points.

In terms of DUI prevention, Dellino Law Group urges you to protect yourself. Please review our tips to help you stay safe and avoid a DUI charge.

  • 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.

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 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.