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Tips for Avoiding a DUI During the Holidays

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The holiday season is here. More of us will dine out, go to parties, and enjoy alcoholic beverages. This adds up to higher odds of getting arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday season.

Use the following tips to avoid a DUI, injury, or death over the holidays.

#1. Don’t Drive if You Plan to Drink Alcohol

The slogan “don’t drink and drive” is common sense. If you want to avoid a DUI this holiday season,

  1. Commit to either avoid alcohol or consume soda, sparkling water, non-alcoholic wine and beer if you have to drive, or
  2. Enlist a designated driver if you want to enjoy holiday cocktails. Alternatively, hire a taxi or driving service if you plan to drink alcohol.

Drunk driving is unsafe for everyone on the road. Protect those you love and everyone behind the wheel over the holidays

Have you or a loved one been arrested for a DUI this holiday season?
Contact The Law Office of Brett Podolsky today for a consultation
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#2. Know the Legal Blood Alcohol Content Limit in Texas

If you drive a motor vehicle when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher in Texas, you can be arrested for DWI. Although any level of alcohol in your system can slow your reflexes or impair your judgment behind the wheel, keep your BAC below the legal limit to avoid a DUI in Texas:

  • Studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that lowering BAC 0.02 percent resulted in almost 10 percent fewer alcohol-related injuries, crashes, and fatalities.
  • The risk of being involved in a serious crash is 4-10 times’ higher for a driver with a BAC of 0.05 – 0.07 percent when compared to a driver with a 0.00 percent BAC.

In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI) means drunk driving. The BAC limits in Texas are 0.08 percent for drivers age 21 or older; 0.04 percent for commercial drivers; and any detectable amount in a driver younger than 21 years of age.

The number of drinks you consume, your gender, and your body weight can affect your BAC.

Considerations

Practically speaking, most people don’t have a breathalyzer to check their BAC. If you choose to drink alcohol, the Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) recommends:

  • Drink at least eight ounces of water/hour
  • Limit yourself to two drinks per 24-hour period
  • Sip alcoholic beverages (don’t “chug)
  • Eat food with your alcoholic beverage

How you feel after consuming alcohol doesn’t directly correlate to your BAC. Using the above strategies can help you feel sober, but it probably won’t change your BAC level. Each person’s metabolism is different.

Recognize that there isn’t a sure method to lower your BAC, and each person’s alcohol tolerance differs. It’s risky to get behind the wheel after you’ve consumed alcoholic beverages because, if a police officer makes a traffic stop and smells alcohol, he or she can arrest you.

#3. Drive with Extra Care

This is good advice for every day of the year. If you’ve consumed an alcoholic beverage and choose to drive, pay careful attention to speed limits, traffic lights, and all traffic laws. Don’t text, speak on the phone, or tune your radio: pay attention to the road because reckless driving will get you into trouble.

#4. Get a Room

If you’re visiting friends and family, it may be possible to stay overnight after consuming alcoholic beverages. Never “sleep it off” in the car. It’s possible to be arrested for a DUI if you’re in a parked car.

If not, book a hotel room. Resting comfortably after a party, dinner, or get-together is a great way to enjoy the holiday season, and it’s much less expensive than a DUI.

Otherwise, call a cab. You can pick up your car tomorrow. The amount you spend on a cab or car service is insurance against a DUI.

#5. Host a Holiday Party or Get-Together

You may decide to avoid by DUI by hosting a party at your home. You won’t need to drive after consuming alcohol, so that’s a good solution for you.

However, you must consider the guests who drink alcohol. Have lots of non-alcoholic drinks available, including sparkling water, sodas, and non-alcoholic wines and beers. Prepare your guest bedroom, keep air mattresses on hand, and have taxi numbers available for everyone. Consider identifying a designated driver for others.

Texas’ Social Host Law (Tex. Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 2.02) holds a party host liable in two types of situations: 1) the host knowingly services alcoholic beverages to minors on the property, or 2) the host supplies car keys to an intoxicated person on his or her property.

#6. If You’re Pulled Over by a Police Officer

Be polite. Comply with the officer’s request, such as presenting your Texas driver’s license and vehicle registration. Contact an experienced Texas DWI attorney as soon as possible.

#7. DUI Apps

Technology can help over the holidays as well:

  1. BACtrack, a cell-phone “breathalyzer,” is recognized as one of the most accurate apps. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. BACtrack’s system has a tiny device to breathe into to measure your BAC. The results are sent to your smartphone or tablet. Choose a small BACtrack (about $50 for your keychain) or a large BACtrack (about $100).
  2. Waze app can help you to identify DUI checkpoints. Check out Waze before you get behind the wheel. It provides real-time road and traffic information and alerts drivers to possible problem areas ahead. Input from other drivers using Waze helps it to correct false reports, such as those inputted by police, concerning DUI checkpoints.
  3. Upload a ridesharing app, such as Uber or Lyft. This simplifies the task of getting home safely after a holiday gathering.
  4. SoberTool is a free app for both iOS and Android platforms. It can help you keep sober if you decide to give up drinking alcohol.

Other Alcohol and Drug Crimes

Under Texas Penal Code Title 10 Chapter 49, you can also be arrested for other alcohol and drug crimes involving your vehicle:

  •  Texas law prohibits having an open alcohol container in your motor vehicle if you’re parked or driving on public roads. An open container violation is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
  • You can be arrested for an open container violation plus DWI: in that case, you face a Class B misdemeanor and a minimum six-day jail sentence.

Texas DUI/DWI Penalties

In Texas, DUI/DWI penalties consider factors such as the driver’s age, circumstances (e.g. passengers, bodily injuries, or fatality), and license type.

Penalties for a Texas DUI/DWI include:

  • Fines and other surcharges, including court costs
  • Driver’s license suspension/revocation
  • Jail time, even if it’s the first offense
  • Community service
  • Mandatory alcohol education/intervention programs
  • Higher car insurance premiums

If you’re arrested for a DUI or DWI crime in Texas, keep the following information in mind:

DUI 1 DUI 2 DUI 3
Fines $2,000 $4,000 $10,000
Jail 3 days (6 days open alcohol container) 30 days 2 – 5 years
Driver’s License Suspension 1 year 2 years 3 years
Ignition Interlock Device May be required Required with 2+ DUI convictions over a 5-year period Required with 2+ DUI convictions over a 5-year period
Alcohol Education Classes Required if convicted Required if convicted Required if convicted

Extreme DUI/DWI Crimes

Any DUI offense is serious, but some are particularly grave, including intoxication manslaughter or intoxication assault:

  • You may be charged with intoxication assault if your drunk driving causes serious bodily injuries to others.
  • Serious bodily injury is an injury causing 1) significant risk or death, 2) permanent or serious loss or disfigurement, 3) Damage impairing an organ or body part.
  • If you or someone you love has been charged with intoxication assault, you face a third-degree felony in Texas.
  • You may be charged with intoxication manslaughter if you kill another person while driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
  • If you or someone you love has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, you face a second-degree felony in Texas.

Hire an Experienced Texas DUI/DWI Attorney in Houston

If you’re arrested, hire an experienced Texas DUI/DWI attorney as soon as possible. You need an attorney with a deep understanding of Texas’ DUI laws. Your criminal defense attorney’s credentials count.

Don’t leave matters to chance. Contact the Law Office of Brett A. Podolsky at 713.227.0087 if you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge over the holidays or any day of the year.

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