Make a game-plan ... Do not drive drunk!

As the finale of football approaches, most of us are already gearing up for the Super Bowl party of our dreams. It’s easy to imagine yourself surrounded by your football-loving posse, vats of chili-cheese dogs & burgers on the grille, perfectly iced kegs of beer and the plush arms of your Lazy Boy. Super Bowl Sunday is a great day to kick back and catch a buzz, but it is also one of the most highly enforced police check-point day of any given year. For those party-goers who have only had a beer or so and appear to be slightly intoxicated, rather than obliterated like the rest, driving to one’s destination may be an undeniable reality. However, due to the ever-increasing DUI fines and penalties, becoming familiar with your legal rights may save your freedom, your license, and your wallet. In the state of Florida, the government defines a .08% blood alcohol level limit for adult drivers. A 125 lb. female who is 3 beers deep behind the wheel a mere hour after her last drink would more than likely be over the legal limit. {These conditions obviously vary by individual and it is important to identify one’s personal limit based on sex, weight, and number of drinks.} Whether above the legal limit for blood alcohol content or not, the police perceive inconsistent driving moves as DUI and could, at the very least, pull you over. Stopped at a sobriety checkpoint or pulled over for seemingly obvious intoxication, when asked if a driver has been drinking, he/she has two legal alternatives. Option 1:  Ask for a lawyer before answering any possibly incriminating questions. Option 2: admitting to having drank a beer or cocktail may explain the potential smell of alcohol but would undoubtedly result in a field sobriety test or breathalyzer. If neither of these scenarios suits you, there is always the option to pull an “OJ” and give chase to at least try get on the next episode of COPS before you are hauled off to jail.

Know your legal rights.....Refuse to Blow!

If suspected of driving under the influence and asked to submit to a breathalyzer, it is the driver’s legal right to refuse. Asking for a lawyer while refusing the breathalyzer will undeniably have its consequences however, it will eliminate the possibly of serving up incriminating evidence to the police on a silver platter. Under Florida law, a person is able to refuse a breathalyzer once without any criminal penalty, but the driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year. Under the same law, the case is subject to challenge by formal review within ten business days, giving your attorney a chance to get you off on a technicality. While a year without a driver’s license seems horrific, the alternative of failing the breathalyzer may result in longer suspension, as well as criminal penalty in addition to a major hole in the pocket. Nearly half of all fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are caused by drunk drivers. On game day, have your DUI play-book memorized, draw straws pre-game for a designated driver to avoid everyone being too trashed to drive, remember to always wear your seatbelt,  and most of all, know your rights!  Have fun on Super Bowl Sunday, but keep your team (and the streets) safe!