Don't Push Your Luck on St. Patrick's Day

Green beer on St. Patrick's Day
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With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, there will be no shortage of places to celebrate or sobriety checkpoints throughout Orange County.  While Orange County is known for being extremely strict when it comes to drunk driving, law enforcement agencies usually take it up several notches during holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day.  If you drive under the influence this weekend, you may not be able count on that “luck of the Irish” to get you out of the legal hot water in which you may find yourself.
In California, it is illegal to drive while impaired by drugs and or alcohol; and/or driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.  California Highway Patrol has provided individuals with an easy to read BAC chart that shows how body weight and drinks can alter a person’s BAC levels.    
Here are a few tips that can help keep you safe this weekend and avoid a DUI charge:
  • Designate a sober driver – leave your car keys at home
  • Hail a cab or use public transportation – call one for round trip or leave your vehicle, call a taxi and return the next morning to pick up your vehicle
  • Stay put – spend the night at a friend’s house to avoid driving drunk
  • Walk home – if you live close, walk to and from where you will be drinking; make sure to stay in well-lit areas and travel with a friend for added safety
  • Fix your car – officers must have a reason to pull you over other than just being suspicious of a DUI; ensure car and lights are in proper working order
Avoiding a DUI is fairly simple: do not drink and drive.  Plan a safe way to get home before you even go out.  Also, if you see someone who is about to drive away while impaired, take his or her keys and help the person get a ride home.
If you know of a DUI checkpoint in your neighborhood, you may want to avoid it.  Sobriety checkpoints can prove to be tricky even if you have not consumed alcohol.  Sometimes, in their enthusiasm to catch drunk drivers, officers who run these checkpoints end up making wrongful arrests or mistakenly assume that someone under the influence when he or she is not.  You cannot be arrested simply because you turn away from a checkpoint.
If you have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint or Saturation Patrol this St. Patrick’s Day, the experienced Orange County Criminal Law firm of Don Ho, LLP can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
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