The holidays are a time for celebration and reflection on all the things in our lives that for which we are grateful. However, many tend to get carried away with the cheers to good health and family and friends. Quite often, a number of us imbibe just a bit too much.
The problem occurs when it’s time to head to the next stop of the day or to head home. Complicating the already dangerous combination of drinking and driving is the fact that the number of cars on the road during the holidays nearly explodes. The potential for serious accidents increases exponentially.
Many people overestimate their ability to operate a motor vehicle after they have had a few alcoholic beverages. Their perception is definitely affected and they often do not see the dangers of getting behind the wheel when their reflexes and judgment are compromised.
Additionally, some drivers get a little cocky because they know if they live or are traveling in Minnesota, they do not have to worry about getting stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. Though checkpoints were conducted in the 1990s in the state, they were ruled unconstitutional by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which directly conflicted with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.
The issue Minnesota had with the existence of checkpoints is that, essentially, drivers are being stopped without cause. The court felt this was a direct violation of a citizen’s rights.
But just because there are no checkpoints doesn’t mean you are home free. Law enforcement officers are aware of the statistics, the increased numbers of intoxicated drivers on the road and the fact that more traffic accidents happen during this time. This means they will be hypervigilant in their patrols and will be looking very closely at indications that drivers may be under the influence. Once they have cause to stop you, and they feel that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you must submit to testing.
I’LL JUST SAY NO – TO A BREATH TEST, THAT IS
If you are stopped for suspected DWI, you cannot avoid a DWI charge by refusing to take the breathalyzer. Minnesota law states you must submit or face the consequences. Those consequences could be the loss of your license and up to one year in jail.
The breathalyzer is a must, but a blood test cannot be conducted without a warrant. So, a blood test can be refused if there is no warrant, but a breathalyzer must be performed.
Before overindulging this holiday season, you should give great consideration to making alternative plans in the event you find yourself incapacitated and unable to drive. Options to stay with family and friends are always easiest, but if need be, check out a few of the area hotels for possible vacancies in the event you feel it’s best to get a room for the night rather than head out on the road.
You and your traveling companions can opt for a designated driver if staying overnight is really not an option for you and your family.
Remember, one night of drinking is not worth your life or that of your family and friends. Neither is it worth putting hundreds of strangers at risk on the road. Your life is not the only one in danger if you decide to get behind the wheel intoxicated.
We are all human. Things happen, bad choices are made and we must deal with the implications. In the event you are facing DWI charges this holiday season, please reach out to us. A DWI can have devastating consequences for you, your loved ones and your future. It is imperative that you provide yourself with experienced attorneys who are familiar with the law and can provide you with a comprehensive and quality defense.