Don’t Let Spring Break Become a DUI Disaster!
For students around the United States, spring break is a perfect time to take a breather from your studies, relax, and enjoy yourself. It’s a perfect time to travel out of state, attend a few parties, and even crack open a few cold beers with your friends. Unfortunately, youthful recklessness, alcohol, and an increased number of travelers on the road do not mix well. Traffic accidents and fatalities spike during spring break, and alcohol plays a prominent role. About one and three traffic deaths in Georgia involves a drunk driver, a troubling fact at a time when many young people will choose to get behind the wheel when inebriated.
Even if your decision to drive under the influence does not lead to any injuries or deaths, it can still have a significant impact on your life. Georgia law is tough on those who drive under the influence, especially if the drivers are underage, and a DUI arrest can turn your relaxing spring break into a nightmare. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, contact the Don Turner Legal Team and see how our attorneys can help you with your case.
Even a First-Time DUI Can Be Too Much
A first-time charge of driving under the influence is considered a misdemeanor. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously – even your first DUI could wreck your entire life. If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you could find yourself facing fines of up to $1,000.00, not counting court costs and up to a year in jail. You will also lose your license for up to a year and will be required to participate in 40 hours of community service, complete a Risk Reduction Program (commonly known as DUI School) and Alcohol and Drug Evaluation, and serve 12 months probation, which may allow for random drug and alcohol screenings.
This is only the beginning of the possible consequences you could face. If you damaged property or injured someone while you were driving under the influence, you will likely have to pay restitution. Your insurance premiums may as much as quadruple overnight after your arrest, as your company will see you as a less safe driver, and they may drop you entirely. A DUI conviction can also risk your employment prospects, as many jobs, especially those with a company vehicle are reluctant to hire people who have been convicted of DUI.
Staying Safe on Spring Break
Nobody wants what is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation to turn into a day of tears and tragedy, simply because of one poor decision. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid a DUI arrest and make sure your relaxing Spring Break vacation remains just that:
- Follow traffic rules near DUI checkpoints: Police only need reasonable suspicion to pull you over – this means that if you are following too closely, failing to maintain lane, or going above the speed limit, you are likely to be stopped. Do not go out of your way to avoid a DUI checkpoint either, as this will create suspicion from the police.
- Do not keep open alcohol containers in your car: It is illegal under Georgia law to possess any open alcoholic beverage or beverage container in your vehicle, unless it is in a locked compartment. Violating this rule can lead to you being asked to take a field sobriety test, even if you have not been drinking. If you are bringing alcohol to a party, keep it in your trunk, not in the passenger side of your vehicle.
- Do not take field sobriety tests: You do not have to consent to field sobriety tests, such as the walk and turn or one leg stand, and in fact, you should not consent to them. The officer who stopped you is already operating under the idea that you are under the influence, making it impossible for them to be purely objective. Additionally, there are many reasons someone could fail these tests, which have little to do with alcohol.
- Do submit to chemical testing: You are legally required to submit to a chemical test under Georgia law if you are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. While you can refuse, be aware that this will be used against you in court.
- Be aware of underage DUI laws: Georgia is harsher on underage drivers when it comes to DUI arrests – the threshold for DUI is .08 for anyone over 21 and .02 for anyone under, a level anyone would exceed after just one beer.
- Remember – drugged driving can also lead to DUIs: You can be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol, even if those drugs were prescribed by your doctor. If you are on medication that makes you drowsy, do not attempt to drive home from that spring break party on your own.
- Make a plan to get home safe: Before you and your friends start partying, make sure you have a game plan to get home safe. Do not attempt to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking – instead, plan to use a cab service or public transportation if these options are available, or make use of ridseshare services like Lyft or Uber.
- Staying at a hotel? Get the information: If you are staying at a hotel for spring break, make sure to get the business card if it has one. This can help your rideshare driver bring you home if you are in no condition to tell them where you’re going.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for a spring break DUI, be certain to contact our law office. Even a first-time DUI charge can put your future at risk, and that’s a steep price to pay for a young person whose future is just getting started. Our attorneys have years of experience defending clients from DUI charges and are standing by to help you with your case.