Going out to drink is not a problem – you live in a free country where you have the right to socialize with friends. The big concern, however, is if you decide to drive back home after a few drinks. You may think that you are fine and that you can do it, but the truth is, you are NOT. One drink is enough to affect your vision – and the ability to perform other tasks crucial to driving safely.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 of 3 crash deaths involves an alcohol-impaired driver. Don’t play with your chances, as they are very high! Avoid penalties (and possible jail time) by following these tips on how to avoid a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge.
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An Overview of the DUI Law
Most states define alcohol-impaired driving as one bearing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. This level is usually attained after 4 to 5 drinks.
A first-time DUI is a misdemeanor that may come with a license suspension, limited driving privileges, and vehicular impoundment. Depending on the state, you may be fined and jailed as well.
As if that those are not enough, 37 states follow an alcohol exclusion law. This gives the insurance companies the power to deny claims brought about by drunk driving. With that being said, if you get into an accident in any of these states, you will need to pay for your hospitalization bill – and other related charges.
How to Avoid a DUI
There are just so many repercussions that can come with a DUI. It is a hassle to have your license suspended, and being jailed – albeit temporarily – is no walk in the park. With that being said, you need to keep these tips in mind – so you can avoid committing another DUI infraction in the future.
1. Get into a bus, cab, or Uber/Lyft.
This is perhaps the best way to avoid a DUI. If you know you are going to drink, avoid bringing your car. If you’re going to a city bar, chances are there’s a bus station right across the corner. Surely there’s a bartender who will be more than glad to call a ride for you.
If you’re going to a suburban house party, you can do the same thing – call a cab or Uber/Lyft once you’re ready to go home. The latter might cost you some money, but it’s cheaper compared to a DUI fine. The minimum is $100 for states such as Michigan and Rhode Island, but it can go as high as $865.50 for the state of Washington.
Word to the wise: Always remember to buckle up!
2. Call someone to pick you up.
If you are fortunate enough to have a family or friend who’s willing to pick you up, then, by all means, take advantage of this situation. This is highly recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
If he/she has to pick you up from a far-flung area – during the wee hours of the morning, then the least thing you could do is make a simple offer. Chipping in some gas money – or promising a movie or dinner sometime soon – are great tokens for his/her efforts.
3. Assign a designated driver.
One person might have to sacrifice himself for the good of many. That’s what friends are for, and that’s what will save you all from a DUI arrest.
Getting a designated driver is one of the best ways to be safe on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just make sure that the designated driver doesn’t drink along with you, or else the whole purpose would be defeated.
4. Stay put until the alcohol wears off.
According to the National Health Service, it takes approximately two hours for the body to metabolize one serving of alcohol. Of course, the more you drink, the longer it will take your liver to process the alcohol. Factoring that, you need to stay for 6 hours, for example, if you drank 3 beers.
While there’s no immediate way to remove alcohol from the body, here are some techniques that may help you get sober faster, according to the National Library of Medicine:
- Drink slowly, so that the liver can catch up with you.
- Consume water in between drinks to prevent dehydration.
- Drink sports drinks or take bouillon soup to replace the electrolytes that you may have lost through drinking.
5. Crash on the couch.
If you are have been hammered in a house party, there is always the option to crash on your friend’s couch. It’s the best thing to do in this situation, especially if you are too hammered to even walk straight. Just make sure to tell your family about your whereabouts so they know where to find you.
6. Don’t allow an impaired person to drive.
If you are a good friend, then you surely wouldn’t want to get your drunk pal in trouble. You won’t get a DUI for sure, but you might be involved in a worse situation: an alcohol-related accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 30 Americans die due to drunk driving every day. If you don’t want to be part of the body count, then the best thing you could do is to try to stop your friend from driving under the influence. He’ll be more than glad to return the favor in case you get drunk next time.
Abstinence is Still the Best Policy
It may be hard for you to resist alcohol, especially if you are surrounded by friends who are drinking freely. But if you are determined NOT to get a DUI, then the best thing you can do is to NOT drink. Set your sights on food and soda, instead of the usual beer or wine. You may be called a loser for this, but abstaining from alcohol is the best way for you to get home safe and sound.
A DUI is a misdemeanor that comes with license suspension, fines, even some jail time. To wit, these inconveniences aren’t worth it. If you want to drink, then do, but don’t drive. As long as you follow the tips above, you can save yourself from the mental and financial anguish (and the possibility of an accident too) that usually comes with drunk driving.