How to Avoid a DWI This Holiday Season
The period of time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day is a popular one for holiday gatherings. There are plenty of holiday parties, work events, and friends and family to visit with. Unfortunately, this is also a popular time of year for DWIs to occur. Not only are there plenty of opportunities to drink too much, but there are plenty of police officers waiting to catch drunk drivers in the act.
As DWI lawyers, the last thing we want is for you to be charged with a DWI this holiday season. While we may be able to help you if you are accused of a DWI, the best way to avoid being arrested is to refrain from drinking and driving in the first place. These tips are designed to provide practical solutions to help you attend holiday events in a way that’s fun and safe.
1. Get familiar with state laws.
In North Carolina, if a driver over 21 is pulled over with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more, (.04% for commercial drivers), they can be charged with DWI. Individuals under 21 can be charged with DWI if their BAC is .01% or higher. In some scenarios, you may be able to be charged with a DWI even if you are not physically driving a car, depending on where the car keys are and whether the vehicle is running or not.
2. Make sure you’re under the legal limit before driving.
There are several breathalyzer products available for the general public to purchase. Most are small enough to fit in your pocket or a purse and can be used to help give you an idea of how much alcohol you’ve already consumed and whether you can legally and safely operate a vehicle.
3. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
Have a healthy meal before you start drinking and let yourself have a snack or two if you start feeling tipsy. While this is not a guaranteed way to avoid a DWI, food does help your body absorb and digest alcohol, subsequently lowering your BAC.
4. Don’t rely on the “one drink per hour” rule.
Everyone’s body is different, which means the way alcohol is absorbed in the body differs from person to person. What keeps one person’s BAC safely under .08% may not work for you. It is not uncommon for someone to consume one alcoholic beverage per hour, drive, and still be charged with DWI.
5. Mix your own drinks.
Pouring your own drinks gives you complete control over how much alcohol is in each beverage and gives you a much more accurate idea of how much you’ve consumed. If you’ve started feeling like you’ve had too much to drink, switch to water or make yourself a mocktail instead.
6. Throw your own holiday party.
If you’re hosting a gathering at your own home, you’re not only in control of how much and what types of alcohol are consumed, but you won’t have to drive anywhere afterward. Just make sure you either have a plan for helping your loved ones get home safely or are prepared to let them stay with you, if necessary.
7. Attend events with an accountability buddy.
If you’re going to a party, try going with a friend who is also committed to avoiding drinking too much and getting home safely. That way you can encourage each other throughout the evening and hold each other culpable for enjoying the holiday festivities responsibly.
8. Choose a designated driver before the party begins.
To be 100% safe and responsible, someone in your group should avoid drinking any alcohol at all so they can safely and reliably transport you and your friends home. If your designated driver does end up consuming alcohol, you may have to find an alternative means of transportation.
9. Give yourself plenty of transportation options.
If you don’t have a designated driver, there are still plenty of fo ways you can get home safely. For example, you can call a cab or take advantage of a rideshare service. You can also make use of public transportation, if available, or see if a friend or relative would be willing to pick you up. Finally, if all else fails, you can always either ask to stay at the party host’s home or book a hotel within walking distance.
Regardless of where you’re going or who you’re going to be with this holiday season, please drink responsibly and don’t drive drunk. If you are charged with a DWI, the team at Mulligan Attorneys can help. Call us at 910-763-1100 or click here to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Stay safe and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!