How NOT to get a DUI: How to Drink

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How NOT to get a DUI: How to Drink

How Not to get a DUI:  How to Drink during a night out to remain below the limit.

How Not to get a DUI. Did you know that there are certain simple steps you can take to remain below a .08 during a night out?

Obviously, having someone else take care of the driving, including Uber, Lyft, a limo or a taxi, will avoid you becoming arrested during a night out.   Ride sharing services have resulted in a statistically measurable reduction in DUI arrests and accidents.

But for cases involving alcohol (and not prescription or other drug DUI), it’s helpful to know a little bit about how alcohol works in the body.

Alcohol is hydrophilic, meaning that the molecule attaches itself to water, and evenly distributes itself throughout the body.  Alcohol affects women more than men, mainly because men have more water content than women do (due to higher muscle mass), and affects the brain, because the brain has high water content.

1.  How Not to Get a DUI: Stay Hydrated.

Drinking and Flying Don't Mix

So here’s tip number one – make sure you drink water until you’re fully hydrated before you drink, and drink water between any alcoholic drinks you have.

2.  How Not to Get a DUI: Just Eat Something.

Tip number two is to eat.  Eating something before you drink is extremely important.  When you consume food, the pylorus, or pyloric valve in the bottom of the stomach, closes.  If you have alcohol after eating, the alcohol is introduced into your system at the same rate as whatever the food is in your stomach.  If you eat simple carbohydrates, like sugars, bread and pasta, those are processed fastest. Complex carbohydrates are processed next fastest, followed by protein, and then fats.  So eat protein and fats before drinking.

There is a myth that eating after having consummated alcohol can “sop up” the alcohol. Beware; once alcohol is in your system, only time will allow it to dissipate.  What you eat after the fact doesn’t make a difference.

3.  How Not to Get a DUI: Obey Every Traffic Law.

dui orange county

Once you are driving, you must be careful to obey all traffic and other laws.  This includes having your lighting equipment, tags/stickers, and equipment working correctly. The police will not be legally justified in stopping you, and will not have probable cause for a DUI if you don’t violate the law. Putting aside your cell phone and concentrating on driving can keep you from being pulled over.

4.  How Not to Get a DUI: Be Organized.

Officer DUI Checkpoint

If you are stopped, you may be asked for your license and registration.  Put this in a place where you can get it easily ahead of time.  The police will be watching carefully to see if you fumble as this information is being handed over.

5.  How Not to Get a DUI: Be Polite.

If you are asked if you were drinking, know that you are not required to answer that question, as it could be self incriminating.  I get asked almost daily what the best response to this question is, and the truth is, it doesn’t matter.

The police officer will smell the breath inside the car and from the headliner of the vehicle, to see if there is an odor of an alcoholic beverage.  The police officer will look at your eyes carefully to see if they are bloodshot and watery.  The police will notice if your speech is slurred or slow.  And the police officer will observe, if you get out of the vehicle, whether or not you are unsteady, lean against the vehicle, or have trouble walking or standing up.  Those observations will be the primary determination of your intoxication, not your admissions or confessions to drinking.  You can answer that however you like, but I prefer that drivers answer “my attorney has told me never to answer that question“, and leave it at that.

6.  How Not to Get a DUI: Refuse Everything that is Not Required.

If you are asked to submit to field sobriety tests, you should politely refuse them.  These tests are voluntary under the law, and usually don’t result in you being let go.  They are used to support the officer’s conclusion that you were under the influence. Typically, the officer will just “start” performing field sobriety tests, so you will be placed in the uncomfortable position of asking the officer to stop, or refusing further tests.

If you are asked to take a field breathalyzer to screen for alcohol, politely refuse, as this is a field sobriety test, and is not necessarily used as definitive evidence of your alcohol level.  The law requires, as a condition of your license, that you submit to an evidentiary test (meaning a breath test under controlled circumstances, or blood test), or face a one year suspension of your driving privileges.  So you should agree to take a breath or a blood test.

7.  How Not to Get a DUI: Breath before Blood.

Vincent Turner, 36, left, of Australia laughs as the blood alcohol content (BAC) is revealed for his friend Brandon Lee, 44, of Peachtree Corners, Georgia during the Huntington Beach Police Department's "Know Your Limit" program visited Sharkeez in downtown Huntington Beach. Both men were well under the legal limit. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: hb.1009.dui Ð 9/26/14 Ð LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - _LOR7166.NEF - Reporter and photographer will visit HB Main Street bars with HBPD officers for the "Know Your Limit" Program. This program offers voluntary breathalyzer tests to bar patrons to help educate people about how intoxicated they are.
Breath testing machine in Huntington Beach

In my opinion, and other attorneys might have a different view on this, you should take a breath test instead of a blood test.  I say this, despite the various defenses available for blood tests, for specific reasons.

First of all, the law is written to measure “blood alcohol content“.  Taking a measure of alcohol from your breath means that it needs to be converted to a range of what your blood alcohol level should be.

That conversion allows for argument, since the breath machine doesn’t know (but assumes) your lung capacity, or how much your body weight, water content, etc., deviates from the standard used.

Second, the breath machine is subject to manipulation more than blood testing devices are.  There are many defenses to breath tests in a DUI. Breath machines are sensitive to fermentation caught in dental work, or between teeth, or from someone belching, burping, vomiting, or suffering from Acid Reflux or GERD.  Airbag dust, diabetes or a ketogenic diet, or earlier exposure to paint fumes can create a false positive. Breath machines are also highly sensitive to temperature and atmospheric pressure.

If at all possible, without creating a safety issue for the officers, or the jail, delay testing as much as possible, if you have been drinking 2-3 hours or more before the test.  This allows the time factor to work in your favor, burning off alcohol, and putting you into the dissipation phase.

When you are in front of the breath machine, just as holding your breath warms the air, and makes your test result higher, cooling the air going into the machine makes your breath test lower than it might otherwise be.  Remember, breath machines are highly sensitive to temperature.  Hyperventilating, or taking deep but fast breaths, cools your breathing passageways, and will result in a (slightly) lower breath result.

So, the short answer is, refuse the field sobriety tests, refuse the field breathalyzer, delay as much as possible, and then choose a breath test and hyperventilate before taking the test.

8.  How Not to Get a DUI: Fight your Case.

Should I fight my DUI?  That depends.  There is a lot of grey area in between “fighting your case” and “accepting whatever punishment you get”.  A good lawyer that knows DUI well and specializes in handling DUI cases will be able to analyze your case and come up with the best strategy for your defense.  It may be, given the facts of your case, that you have a very good motion to dismiss your case, or a very good chance of winning at trial.  In that case, it would not make sense to take the first deal offered to you, or any deal at all.  It may be that after analyzing all the facts of your case, your lawyer will assess that you have a poor chance of winning at trial.  However, even in that situation, you should decide whether or not to take your case to trial based on the deals that have been offered to you to date.  If you were offered an alcohol school plus thirty days in jail, and your lawyer tells you that you would likely not get jail if you went to trial (based on experience with the judge, the court, or the facts of your case), you may want to take your case to trial, to get a “better deal”.

That is where you will need to be heavily involved in your case.  While a DUI lawyer can give you all you need to empower yourself to make the decisions about what is best for you, measure the risk of each decision involved, and agree on a strategy or come up with a long term solution that you can live with, and that meets the goals that you and your attorney originally set up at the beginning of the case.

9.  How Not to Get a DUI: Get a DUI Lawyer.

Association California DUI Lawyers

Do I need a lawyer?  Although this may seem like a biased opinion, you may, or may not.  An experienced Orange County DUI lawyer, during a free consultation, can review the basic facts of your case and see if a lawyer would make a difference for the long term future of your case.  Lawyers have a duty of honesty to you, and if a lawyer can’t help, they should truly let you know that and come up with solutions for you so that you can feel comfortable handling your case yourself, or can offer to handle court appearances or negotiating a plea bargain for much lower than the full price of services through trial.

What really matters is that a lawyer who is specifically trained to handle DUI will know of defense strategies that even other attorneys don’t know about, and that you would not know about by even after reviewing the police reports yourself.  Just as handling your own IRS Tax Audit, or even doing your own medical diagnosis- you can do it yourself, but you usually get much better results when an expert handles the case for you.

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