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DWI during the Holidays — What Every Driver Needs to Know

Mark Thiessen

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again! With Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and all the birthdays and office celebrations in between, party season is upon us. Some parties are amazing (we’re looking at you, New Year’s rooftop party), others we could do without. (Who does cash bar at a company Christmas Party? Your spouse’s boss, that’s who.)

But whether it’s a holiday favorite or a seasonal obligation, most of these parties have one thing in common: alcohol, and lots of it.

Not surprisingly, then, the answer to the question, “What holidays have the most accidents” is Christmas and New Years. Getting a DWI during the holidays is not uncommon.

So, before you consider drinking and driving during the holidays, make sure you know your rights and how to use them — doing so could make the difference between a fun night out and a few nights locked up.

1) Set up a ride in advance

Planning a ride before starting your festivities is the easiest, safest way to make sure you have a fun holiday season that doesn’t involve you landing a DWI first offense.

To keep yourself and other drivers safe, determine a designated driver in your group. Failing that, call an Uber/Lyft, especially if you’ve had to resort to social binge drinking to make it through another endless White Elephant gift exchange.

Even if you don’t think you’ll drink that much, it’s always better to play it safe. That way, you won’t to have to tell your kids that your getting a DWI during the holidays is why Santa wasn’t as generous this year.

2) Obey the rules of a traffic stop

If you do find yourself joining the legion of impaired drivers risking a DWI during the holidays, know how to handle yourself properly if you do get pulled over by the police. Follow these steps to help your traffic stop go as well as it can.

  • Obey the police and provide your paperwork: Officers have a right to request your driver’s license and proof of insurance. Provide the documents quickly and make sure the officer understands your intent before you open any compartments or dig in any bags. If meeting this request is the most work you have to do during your stop, consider yourself lucky.

  • Be polite: Whatever you do, suppress your urge to have an attitude with the police. Treat the officer the way you would like to be treated and go from there. Yelling and complaining won’t make the stop go any faster, nor will it decrease your odds of getting out of a DWI during the holidays.

3) Don’t incriminate yourself

You’d be amazed how many people talk themselves into a roadside sobriety test by telling a police officer more than is necessary. The fifth amendment is your friend. While we don’t recommend stonewalling a police officer, selective silence can help keep you out of trouble.

For example, if a police officer asks you where you’re coming from or how much you’ve had to drink, answers such as, “My buddy’s Christmas party,” or “Just two beers,” are all the police need to hear to detain and test you for a DWI.

Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you in court.

Part of drunk driving awareness is being able to recognize when a line of questioning is going south. When that happens, it’s best to invoke your right to silence and let your lawyer handle the rest. Doing otherwise increases your chances of having to ask questions like, “What is DWI expungement?” or “How long does a DWI stay on your record?

4) Blow before you bleed

Because DWI during the holidays is so common, the officer(s) pulling you over are likely to be more suspicious than usual, even if you haven’t had a drop to drink that night. If the officer asks you to take a Breathalyzer, your best bet is to comply, even if you’ve been drunk driving.

Your alternative is a blood test, and scoring above the .08 DWI blood alcohol level in Texas or higher is more likely to land you with a conviction than a similar result on a Breathalyzer. Note that declining the test can cause your license to get suspended — even if you’re stone cold sober.

5) Save our number in your phone: (713) 999-3959

It may be the season of lights, but the last thing you’ll want to see on a cold December night is red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror. Bad things happen to good people, and the police make mistakes.

Don’t let one night determine the rest of your life. If your holiday fun results in your getting a DWI during the holidays, the best gift you can give yourself is representation by a quality Houston DWI lawyer. Mark Thiessen has been successfully fighting Houston DWIs for years.

Making Mark the first person you call after a DWI during the holidays may be the smartest decision you’ll make all year. If you or a loved one have been arrested on suspicion of DWI, schedule a free consultation and get your case on the right track with the Thiessen Law Firm today.

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