Everyone loves, and deserves, some downtime after a hard day’s or week’s work. Sometimes, that downtime involves relaxing at home and, sometimes, you want to go out and have a good time with friends or loved ones. It might involve a drink or two. Even attending a party, celebration, or work event may include indulging in libations. And while there’s nothing wrong with responsible drinking, problems can arise when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.
You could be pulled over by a police officer and be arrested and charged with OWI, or operating while intoxicated. An OWI conviction for first-time offenders carries a 6-9 month driver’s license suspension, a fine of up to $735, and a one-year requirement to use an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle if your BAC is .15 percent or more. For subsequent OWI charges, you could face a felony conviction which could carry a minimum of four years in prison. Even beyond these penalties, you could face residual social and economic consequences of OWI.
Because the risk to your liberty and future is so high, you should take a lot of care to avoid being charged with OWI. Here are several tips that can help you avoid a potentially devastating mistake.
#1 – Refrain from Drinking
This may seem like the most obvious way to avoid an OWI charge, but it also happens to be the best way. By not drinking when you go out for a night on the town, you can safely drive your car home at the end of the night without risking your life or an arrest by law enforcement. An even better way to make your non-drinking useful is to be the designated driver for any friends or loved ones that you’re with who may be indulging in alcoholic beverages. You’ll be looking out for yourself and those you care about all at the same time.
#2 – Use a Rideshare Service
The rise of rideshare service companies has done more than just offer a major convenience to people across the country. Rideshare companies are a popular option for those who have had a few too many to be taken home safely. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have even promoted themselves as safe modes of transportation for those who have indulged in alcoholic beverages. During holidays when drinking is particularly common, like Memorial Day and New Year’s Eve, these rideshare services have offered their services for free or at a significant discount to prevent people from taking the risk of drinking and driving.
#3 – Have a Friend or Loved One Be Your Designated Driver
Similar to using a rideshare service, you could ask a reliable friend, associate, loved one, or someone else you trust to be your designated driver. You can tell them your plans and where you’ll be, and contact them when you’re ready to go home. If they agree to it, you’ll know that you can indulge as you wish without having to worry about how you’ll get home safely.
#4 – Walk to a Nearby Hotel for a Night’s Stay
Sometimes you don’t intend to partake in drinking when you go out. But if you’re planning ahead, and know that alcoholic beverages are going to be served where you’re going, you can book a stay at a nearby hotel or motel for the night. Make sure that the hotel or motel is within walking distance so that you’re still avoiding the need to get behind a wheel to travel there. If you’re drinking with others, perhaps you and one or several of them that you’re particularly close to can walk together and share a room so you’ll all avoid driving while intoxicated.
#5 – Don’t Go Out Drinking Alone
In the vein of tip #4, it’s a great idea to be with others you trust if you’re planning on having a few drinks. Not only can it be a more enjoyable time, but it could potentially make things safer for you. If you’re out on the town and drinking at a restaurant or bar, for example, you and those you’re with can help hold each other accountable for getting home without driving yourselves.
Call Hart Powell, S.C. if You’ve Been Arrested or Charged with OWI
I’ve you’ve been arrested and/or charged with OWI, you need to hire a defense attorney right away.
An OWI charge is serious, and you could face serious penalties if you’re found guilty of the charge. The Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. have over 30 years of experience representing those who have been charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes, including OWI. Call us today at (414) 271-9595 for a confidential consultation.