It’s Patio Season… Don’t Ruin It With A DWI
By David R. Lundgren
It’s spring in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and us northerners are dusting off our flip flops, donning our favorite pale-leg baring garment, and seeking out one of our town’s many picturesque patios. The allure isn’t difficult to understand. What’s better than enjoying one of the best seasons in Minnesota by soaking in the weather, imbibing, devouring one (or more) appetizers, and socializing with friends who’ve ventured out from their winter hibernation? Not much.
So don’t ruin it with a DWI.
Despite common belief, many folks are not repeat DWI offenders. And, the vast majority of people don’t start their day intending to place themselves at risk for driving under the influence of alcohol. The most common scenario involves an impromptu gathering such as a patio happy hour, poor planning, and yes, impaired judgment about one’s level of intoxication and ability to drive a motor vehicle.
As a part of our criminal defense practice, Adam Johnson and I have handled DWI/DUI’s across the State of Minnesota, and especially the Twin Cities metro area, for many years. We’ve seen firsthand many of the contributing factors that play into a person’s decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Let us help you avoid those same mistakes with our tips below for avoiding a DWI this patio season.
- Plan Ahead. Before your first drink, determine how many you beverages you are going to have. If you are planning on driving, make sure that the number of drinks will not put you anywhere near a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08. There is no reason to flirt with disaster by purposefully drinking an amount that will have your BAC approach the legal limit. If you are planning on drinking to intoxication, make arrangements beforehand for a ride home and stick to those arrangements
- Stick To Your Plan. If you drink more than you initially determined, then call a cab, find a ride, walk home, etc. Do anything but drive.
- Don’t Rely On Apps Or Other Charts. There are many internet resources out there that will estimate your BAC given a number of factors. While they may give you a rough estimate of where your BAC may be, they are not accurate. Do not rely upon them. Your true BAC depends on many factors such as height, weight, gender, body composition, medications, alcohol tolerance, and diet. Do not rely upon the one-size-fits-all tests out there.
- Don’t Rely On Portable BAC Machines. They come in many shapes and forms – smart phone attachments, key chain breath test, or full model – and they all have one thing in common: they are not accurate or reliable. Not even law enforcement’s portable breath test is accurate and reliable enough to be admissible in court for most purposes. Besides, most people who own machines like these have them for one reason: to flirt with the .08 limit. As stated before, doing so invites disaster.
- Don’t Mix Alcohol With Medications. Mixing alcohol with medications can increase your impairment even at BAC levels lower than .08. Doing so leaves you vulnerable to accusations of DWI/DUI and hazards those on the road around you. Do not mix any amount of alcohol with medications if you plan on driving.
- Educate Yourself. Know what you are drinking and the alcohol content of the drinks you enjoy. Especially since the craft beer craze has struck the Twin Cities, many drinks have a surprisingly high alcohol content. It doesn’t take many 7% a.b.v. India Pale Ale’s to have that BAC creep to, and above, .08. This may go without saying, but the higher the alcohol content, with all other things being equal, the higher your BAC will rise.
- Use Your Common Sense. Most importantly, use your common sense. If you feel buzzed, loopy, dizzy, or tired, find a different way home rather than driving. Ask yourself if you would be able to drive with the same ability as if you had nothing to drink at all. If the answer is no, then find a different way home.
If you find yourself in a situation where despite your best efforts you’ve been arrested for DWI, remember that we can help. Read our blog here to familiarize yourself on some necessary steps to protect your rights and then give us a call. DWI cases are not as straight forward as many people imagine and there are many avenues of defense to explore. We’re happy to provide you with a free consultation and discuss our fees if you’re interested in retaining Lundgren & Johnson, PSC – call (651) 888-2937.