‘Tis the Season to be…. Careful

By: Bronson T. Kopp

As the Holiday season is upon us, it is important to be mindful once again of the importance of safe and sober driving. With what seems like a steady stream of Holiday parties and social gatherings, it is important to remember that “just one more Egg Nog” may be one too many Egg Nogs. Of course it’s important to practice safe and sober driving all year long, but it is especially important as law enforcement cranks up enforcement efforts during the Holidays.

As you know, driving while intoxicated in New York is illegal. There is no iron-clad answer to how many drinks is too many as it depends on a variety of factors including: (1) the type of alcohol you’re consuming; (2) whether or not you’ve eaten before or while you’re drinking; (3) your weight; (4) the length of time you’ve been drinking; and (5) any medications that may alter the influence of alcohol on your system. Furthermore, despite what your friends may claim, the only way to “sober up” is to allow your body to metabolize the alcohol. A cold shower, going for a walk or drinking a pot of coffee may make you feel more awake, but you will still be just as impaired.

A conviction of a DWI could result in your license being suspended, hefty fines and potentially even jail time. As you may imagine, the penalties are more serious based upon the severity of your intoxication. As my colleague Rick James has explained, the penalties are even steeper for drivers who are under the age of 21.

It’s a good idea to have a sober driver lined up before you begin drinking to avoid being put into a difficult situation. However, if you do find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of being pulled over after having one to many, you’ll likely be subjected to a field sobriety test wherein the officer will conduct a series of exercises to assess your impairment. You may also be given a breathalyzer test to determine your BAC level. It is in your best interest to hire a competent attorney to represent you so that the best possible defense is presented and that any lasting impact of DWI conviction is minimized.


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