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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: April 1, 2011
St. Patrick's Day beer mug with a green shamrock design - Leckerman Law, LLC

You’ve been looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day for weeks, if not months. Coincidentally, March Madness officially begins on the same day. It’s the perfect storm for good times. Waking up on Friday morning to go back to work is going to be rough. However, you do not want to add to the post St. Patrick’s Day blues with a DUI charge. You need to take the appropriate steps in order to avoid problems with the law.

First, the easiest way to avoid a DUI is to not get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Have a designated driver, take public transportation or call a cab for a ride home. This piece of advice seems simple to follow; yet, after having a couple of beers, judgment is often impaired. Many folks believe that they are “alright” to drive home, because they drank over a long period of time and had eaten food. Although this formula is a good one to avoid a “spike” in the blood alcohol level, everyone’s body processes alcohol differently. So, a person may have more alcohol in his or her system than anticipated when getting into a car.

Second, it is extremely nerve-wracking to be the focus of a DUI investigation. People tend to do and say foolish things that they would not normally do or say under typical circumstances. You may believe that you could perform field sobriety tests well if asked by a police officer. Nonetheless, the circumstances surrounding field sobriety testing may be too difficult to overcome in order perform these tests.

Most of the time, the police officer will have you do balance tests on the side of the road next to your car. Other cars may be whizzing by at high speeds. There is usually gravel where you are performing the tests. The area may be uneven or slanted. There may be multiple officers with the emergency lights on their cars flashing. You are probably tired as well. Additionally, keep in mind that field sobriety tests are designed for people to fail. These balance tests require a person to perform coordination tasks that the person has most likely never tried before that evening (such as lifting one leg for 30 seconds or walking heel to toe without being able to use arms for balance). You’ll will need more than the luck of the Irish to pass these tests under these conditions.

Finally, there are numerous factors that could cause a breath testing machine or blood test to incorrectly assess your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as being over the legal limit. Conditions such as diabetes or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are a couple of factors that would potentially cause a falsely elevated BAC reading. However, it would take hiring a knowledgeable DUI attorney and expert witness to attempt to convince a prosecutor that your BAC was not above the legal limit. In order to do so, you would be spending a lot of time and money that could be used for better purposes.

The bottom line is that the pitfalls of drinking and driving can be avoided if you take simple precautions and make smart decisions.

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