2016 is almost upon us. As we make plans to go out and celebrate we have to plan on how to get home. I know it sounds cliche to say to get a designated driver or a cab, but in 2016 it has never been more important.
Since being a prosecutor and now a defense attorney I have seen cases where people are arrested for DUI even though they may be UNDER the legal limit. That’s right, driving with a BAC below .08 a person can still be arrested and charged with DUI.
This is because the DUI statute is written and has been interpreted in such a way that if you have ANY amount of alcohol in your system while operating a vehicle you can be arrested and charged with DUI.
There are two types of DUI. “DUI per se,” which means a person is DUI because his/her BAC is over a .08, and then there is “DUI less safe.” “DUI less safe,” means that while operating a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in his/her system a person commits a “less safe act” or that because of that alcohol a person is driving less safely than he/she would had they not had any alcohol in their system.
What is a “less safe act” you might ask. Well, it is any traffic violation that you can be pulled over for. Therefore, if a person is pulled over and he/she has had any amount of alcohol then he/she could be arrested.
What all this really means is that drinking ANY amount of alcohol can result in an arrest and prosecution. This is especially true in certain counties and towns. Police, Deputies, and Prosecutors are taking DUIs more and more seriously. They are less and less likely to offer reductions and the penalties become increasingly severe especially where multiple DUIs are on someone’s record.
So, as you get ready to go out this New Year’s Eve, take a few minutes to plan ahead how you will get to your different locations. Don’t start 2016 with an arrest. Call a cab or a friend.