While my advice here is absolutely not to get behind the wheel if you've been drinking, the reality is people do drive after they have been drinking. (I don't say this in a judgmental way, it's just I see how unfair the system is in the sense that even sober people can fail a field sobriety test. When you couple that with the fact that even if you blow UNDER the limit, you are still going to jail, I just want to warn people to not take that chance if at all possible.)...Now, contrary to what might seem logical, driving after drinking IS NOT illegal. If that were so, why in the world would there be parking lots outside of every bar, restaurant, or establishment that serves alcohol to people that surely drove themselves there? So drinking and then driving is not what is illegal. What makes it illegal is when a person is driving under the influence (whether it be alcohol or drugs) TO THE POINT that it impairs their "normal faculties", in other words ability to drive at a "normal" level. Without getting into that here, the question I get asked many times is if an officer orders you to take a breath test, should I blow?
It's always so astonishing to me when I get a client who has had a driver's license for over 50 years and until just recently, had never gotten a ticket in all of that time. More often than not, people unfortunately do have run-ins with the police when it comes to the most common violations of our traffic laws: speeding, red light violations, and improper turns. What's interesting is the officer always tells you that you have 3 options (and you do)...1) Just pay the ticket. 2) Elect to take the traffic school online and pay the ticket (at a slightly reduced rate) or 3) "if you're not guilty and want to fight it, you can go to Court". (Well, that's how one officer explained it to me).
It is an unfortunate fact of the times we're living, but more often than not, we see spikes in the number of crimes committed and reported during the holiday season. Though it is supposed to be a time of sharing, caring and spending quality time with loved ones, many times people find themselves facing criminal charges they could never have imagined.
Did you know you could lose your license for a drug conviction? How about for shoplifting? Did you know that you could lose your license more than 2 times as long for a marijuana possession conviction that you would for driving under the influence?!
So many times people don't realize that once an arrest is made, unless you seal or expunge it, that arrest will ALWAYS show up on a background check EVEN if the case was ultimately dropped, dismissed, No Info'd (No Information Notice meaning not suitable to prosecute/state didn't file formal charges) or Nolle Prossed (Nolle Prosequi means to not prosecute).
I have lost count of the hundreds of times clients, or even people I deal with on the ball fields or school functions in my personal life, that ask me, "What does it mean if the cops didn't read me my rights?" Well, that's a great question! And what if you were arrested, but you didn't even understand when your rights were read because you only speak Spanish or another language?