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Driving Under The Influence & The Holidays

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for xmas ball.jpgSo, here it is again…the wonderful fall and winter holiday season. For many of us, this time of the year means shopping, wrapping, gift giving, baking, traveling, and lots and lots of parties. Although festive, this time of year is also the number time for drunk driving, DUI arrests, and targeted patrols and sobriety checkpoints by law enforcement. So how do you prepare for the season? Plan ahead and know your rights.

Before heading out to take part in some holiday cheer, make sure you think about how you will get home or to the second, (or maybe even third!), event of the evening without picking up a DUI or worse, hurting yourself or someone else. Keep in mind that alcohol affects the part of your brain that deals with impulse control and euphoria. Often, you think you are sober and can drive safely, when in fact, you are more intoxicated that you realize. And, if you are pulled over, you will probably be arrested for DUI.

San Diego offers many options for getting around town. Have you checked out Uber or Lyft yet? These are awesome car services that can pick you up and drop you off by using an app on your smartphone. You can also text a cab or you can take Car2Go to your function and then use an alternative form of transportation on the way back. You can plan out your night using the bus and/or trolley schedule on the MTS website. Or, if you are headed to a house party, ask to spend the night. You can also designate a driver, but make sure that person is not going to use the “I’ll be sober enough to drive later” approach.

Keep in mind that San Diego law enforcement will be doing saturation patrols and drunk driving roadblocks. If you are pulled over after having an alcoholic beverage, exercise your right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. If the officer asks you if you know why you were pulled over, do not answer. Simply ask the question back. If the cop asks if you had anything to drink, again, do not answer. You can simply tell the officer you are exercising your right to remain silent. You may be asked to complete field sobriety tests (FST’s). Again, state that you do not wish to do them. Lastly, as part of the FST’s, you may be asked to blow into a hand-held breath machine or preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. Unless you are under 21 or on DUI probation, do not take this test either.

Everything you do and say will be written in the police report and will be used against you in court and at the DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing. Do not help the officers build their case against you!!! If the officer believes you are driving while under the influence, s/he will arrest you. You only must submit to a blood or breath test after you are arrested or your license will be suspended.

The above blog article is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. Laws may change and may not apply to your case. For the latest information or to get legal advice, speak to a DUI attorney in your area.


Call the Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman right now at 619-260-1122 to learn more about fighting your DUI! You only have 10 days from the date of the arrest to request an Administrative Per Se Hearing at the DMV to challenge the suspension of your driving privileges. If we are retained early in the case, we can represent you at the DMV hearing and at the court proceedings. Our office is in Mission Valley, but we handle cases in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County.