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Avoiding DUI on Thanksgiving

The deadliest weekend of the year in the United States is not New Year’s, Independence Day, or any other holiday known for wild partying and excessive drinking. The deadliest holiday of the year is actually Thanksgiving. According to statistics, over 500 people will lose their lives while driving this Thanksgiving weekend.

The high crash statistics for Thanksgiving are the result of a few factors:

  • Driving at night
  • Unfamiliar roads
  • Drinking and driving
  • Large traffic volume
  • Driving long distances

Part of the reason for high fatality rates is due to higher volume in traffic. According to AAA, 90% of Thanksgiving travelers will travel by car to their destinations—even for long-distance locations. However, even taking that into account, Thanksgiving is by far the deadliest holiday for DUI crashes. So if the statistics aren’t in your favor, consider a few different ways you can avoid DUI a week from now.

Safest Measure—Don’t Get Behind the Wheel

The obvious tip: plan to stay the night wherever you are celebrating, or otherwise have a designated driver who will not drink at all. In either case, this takes the possibility of DUI entirely off the table. However, if you are driving alone to a home you will not be staying at, there are other ways to avoid DUI charges.

If you feel even slightly impaired, avoid driving until you can safely drive (and be honest with yourself here). In Florida, sleeping in your car will not be enough. According to Florida courts, your ability to potentially operate your vehicle, even if you are not currently doing so, is enough to be guilty of DUI. When it comes to these cases, the burden of proof is on you to prove that you were not driving drunk.

That means you will want to make it absolutely clear that if you were drinking, you had no intention of driving. This means even avoiding being in your car while intoxicated (unless someone else is driving). Conversely, it means that if you are driving, you want there to be no doubt that you are fully able to drive. Police officers have two means by which to secure a DUI conviction: your blood alcohol level (or BAC, gathered from a breathalyzer) or their perception of your physical behavior.

Due to per se laws in Florida, even if you are 100% capable of driving, you are guilty of DUI if your BAC is above .08. There is no way to avoid taking a breathalyzer test in Florida, either. This is due to the legal principle of “implied consent,” dictating that you automatically consent to blood, urine, or breath tests when an officer has “probable cause” to believe that you are intoxicated.

Now, breathalyzer tests can be challenged. However, in the moment, if an officer has probable cause to demand a breath test, you must comply. The only way to avoid this is avoid giving probable cause. Limit your drinking. Stay the night. Call a taxi or an Uber.

In the event that you are pulled over this Thanksgiving, our firm’s criminal defense attorneys have the skill and experience to help you challenge your charges in court. Rudenberg & Glasser, P.A. has extensive experience helping those charged with DUI protect their rights with the power of the law. Though you may have been arrested and subjected to a breath test, it is not the end of the story.

Contact our firm for a free consultation if you have questions about your case.