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Holiday DUI Arrests Goal of D.C. Law Enforcement

by | Dec 20, 2013

A record number of travelers are expected to be on the move this holiday season – some 95 million in all, according to the latest data from AAA.

The vast majority of these are traveling by car, which means law enforcement road patrol efforts are going to be bolstered even more than usual over the last several weeks of the year. That puts drivers at an even greater risk for a D.C. DUI arrest this December.

Despite all the anti-drinking and driving campaigns (Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Booze it and Lose It, etc.), there is nothing illegal about drinking alcohol and then driving to your next destination. The problem arises when you cross the intoxication threshold. In D.C. (and everywhere else in the country), that’s defined at 0.08 percent for adults. D.C. code allows for zero tolerance with juveniles, or anyone under the age of 21.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that much of the time, people don’t recognize how intoxicated they are. It’s true that theoretically, one drink could render you intoxicated. Likely your limit is beyond that, but it can be tough to tell.

A recent experiment conducted by the Today show revealed that many times, people underestimate their intoxication levels. A group of friends were invited to a restaurant for a “story about holiday drinking,” at which they were served alcohol. They were told to drink as they normally would and then make the determination of whether they were able to drive.

One of those guests, a female, consumed two drinks and reported that if she waited at least an hour or so before driving, she would be Ok. But in fact, when she was given a breathalyzer test an hour later, her blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.1 percent – 0.02 points above the legal limit for adults.

A man at the table indicated he could safely drive the two blocks home after consuming 2.5 drinks. However, he was reportedly unable to successfully complete field sobriety tests administered by a police officer and his blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.13 percent. He later said that had he been out at a bar, he would likely have gotten behind the wheel without a second thought.

In truth, these people may well have been fine to safely operate a vehicle, as everyone’s metabolism works differently and everyone has different limits. But if you get pulled over, all that matters is what the law says.

A recent survey by Mothers Against Drunk Driving indicated nearly two-thirds of adults reported being at a party or some other event in which someone attempted to drive home after consuming too much alcohol. A number of those responding said they drove that person home or at least took away their keys. However, about 20 percent reported doing nothing.

Obviously, friends should take the measure of helping one another out by offering assistance to someone who is clearly too drunk to drive. Remind him or her that police officers are going to be out in full force patrolling and also establishing numerous DUI checkpoints.

If you or someone you know does end up being arrested for DUI this holiday season, make sure you contact an experienced attorney. He or she may help you avoid a conviction – which is no way to start off the new year.

If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Scrofano Law, PC at 202-765-3175.