Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summer vacation season. Erie and the surrounding areas have plenty of holiday events and activities to keep you busy. However, if you are traveling for the holiday weekend, you need to beware that with the increase in traffic, you increase of being involved in a car crash also increases. Even if you are just traveling across town, you need to be very careful on the roads over the holiday weekend.
Below are several tips from our Erie DUI defense attorney to help keep you legal and safe over Memorial Day Weekend.
Every state, including Pennsylvania, requires drivers to carry minimum insurance requirements. In Pennsylvania, drivers must carry the following insurance to operate a motor vehicle legally:
If you enjoy consuming alcohol on occasion or even on a regular basis, you may have heard a lot of stories about how to avoid getting drunk. Many of these stories are myths. While it is certainly okay to enjoy alcohol, it is not okay to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. The penalties you face from a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania are steep and go far beyond a simple fine. Below are four of the myths about alcohol consumption. Do you know which ones are myths and which ones are true?
There are so many thoughts running through your mind after a car crash. Do I call the police? How severe are my injuries? What should I do now? Did I cause the accident or did the other driver cause the crash? Should I help the other driver or passengers?
Do you know that over-the-counter medications can result in buzzed driving? When you think about drugged driving, you probably think about a driver who has consumed illegal drugs or smoked marijuana. However, drugged driving covers much more than illicit drugs. Buzzed and drug driving can result from taking any drug that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle. If you cause an accident while impaired by drugs, you are responsible for the damages caused by that accident.
As an Edinboro DUI attorney, I see the devastating impact that underage drinking can have on the lives of young people and their families. The holidays are especially a difficult time for many young people who do not understand the dangers associated with underage drinking. As parents, we can take steps to prevent underage drinking during the holidays.
How Prevalent Is Underage Drinking During the Holidays?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 11,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years will consume alcohol for the first time on an average December day. Approximately 400 young people under the age of 21 years die each month from alcohol-related causes. Therefore, it is crucial that adults learn the signs and symptoms of underage drinking in order to spot a problem before it becomes life-threatening.
If you work in law enforcement or if you are a bartender, you may already be familiar with Blackout Wednesday. Blackout Wednesday is the unofficial name given to the day before Thanksgiving Day, also known as Thanksgiving Eve. The reason why this day has earned such a dark name has to do with alcohol consumption. Blackout Wednesday has become the day when Americans consume more alcohol than any other day of the year.
Some people believe this is because many people do not work on Thanksgiving Day; therefore, they feel comfortable indulging in some pre-holiday cheer. According to other sources, Blackout Wednesday is a bigger drinking day than St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve. They claim Thanksgiving Eve has become one of the worst nights for drunk driving in some areas. In Pennsylvania, this may be the case.
Being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol is a pretty serious offense. A DUI conviction has major consequences that impact you for months or years after the fact. When you are out with friends, it can be easy to make a poor decision resulting in a DUI charge. Unfortunately, the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction in Pennsylvania are severe.
A first-time offender can lose his driver’s license, in addition to fines and jail time, which makes it difficult to get to school or work. Thanks to a new law, an ignition interlock device may give first-time DUI offenders a second chance by allowing them to keep their driver’s license. However, there are costs that the driver must bear for an ignition interlock device.
A driver may be asked to take a breathalyzer test if he or she is stopped for speeding or other traffic violation if the police officer suspects the driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If the test is positive, the driver will be arrested for DUI. However, certain medications or medical conditions can influence breathalyzer results.
Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent
When a person is issued a driver’s license in Pennsylvania, it is implied the driver consents to a breathalyzer test when asked to take one by a police officer. An officer can request a breathalyzer test if the officer suspects you have consumed enough alcohol to impair your driving. The results of a breathalyzer test can be used against you in a court of law. If the results are wrong, you may have a difficult time proving the error. Therefore, it is good to understand how medications and medical conditions can cause inaccurate results so that you can inform the police officer of your condition before the test is given.
Many people are watching their weight; therefore, as the holiday season gets closer, many people will choose to enjoy their alcohol cocktails with diet sodas. However, a study revealed that mixing alcohol with diet drinks results in a higher alcohol concentration on the breath than alcohol mixed with regular soda.
Researchers had men and women consume mixed drinks over five sessions. Some of the drinks were mixed with regular soda while others were mixed with diet soda. The researchers found that the breath alcohol concentrations for the participants who drank alcohol mixed with diet soda was up to 25 percent higher compared to individuals who drank alcohol mixed with regular soda.
When you are pulled over by an officer who suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer is trying to find probable cause to make an arrest for DUI. One factor can be whether the officer smells alcohol on your breath. Therefore, the higher the concentration of alcohol on your breath, the more likely the officer will find probable cause for a DUI arrest. Furthermore, the higher concentration of alcohol on your breath will show up on a Portable Breath Test (PBT).
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
In addition to raising the concentration of alcohol on your breath, drinking alcohol mixed with diet drinks can result in a higher blood alcohol contact (BAC). A gastroenterologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia noted that alcohol is absorbed faster into the bloodstream if mixed with diet drinks.
According to Dr. Rayner, sugar can slow down the process of alcohol entering the small intestine where it is absorbed into the blood stream. Therefore, drinking alcohol mixed with diet soda can actually cause your BAC level to increase at a faster rate.
Regular Soda Does Not Prevent A DUI Charge
Drinking alcohol mixed with regular soda is not the way to avoid a DUI charge. You may not have such a high alcohol concentration on your breath or as high of a BAC level if you use regular soda rather than diet soda, you will still be impaired if you drink enough alcohol. The only ways to prevent a DUI charge are:
- Don’t drink any alcohol and drive
- Use a designated driver when you know you will be consuming alcohol
- Use public transportation (i.e. bus, cab, etc.)
- Call a friend or a family member for a ride when you have been consuming alcohol
Fighting an Edinboro DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with DUI in Edinboro, your best chance of mounting a successful defense is to hire an Edinboro DUI attorney to represent you. A DUI arrest does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of driving under the influence. You may have a valid defense to the DUI charge. A conviction for driving under the influence can have long-term implications beyond the fine and jail time. Don’t trust your defense to a public defender. Hire an Edinboro DUI attorney with the skills, experience, and resources necessary to provide the best defense possible to your impaired driving charge.
Contact The Travis Law Firm toll free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Pennsylvania DUI attorneys.