New Year's Eve is upon us, and plans are being made for celebrations to ring in 2017. A recent decision from our court emphasizes the importance of celebrating safely.
In the hundreds of DUI cases that I have handled over the past 25 years, the fact of not having a plan in place before attending a function, gathering, or celebration stands out as a key factor resulting in charges. In a decision released just this week, our Court of Appeals found that erratic driving, bloodshot & glassy eyes, and the time of the stop (10 pm) gave the officer probable cause to arrest for DUI. No odor of alcohol, no coordination issues, and no other obvious indications of impairment.
New Year's Eve is a holiday in which law enforcement is fully staffed and have as many officers out as possible. They are looking for poor driving, burnt out turn signal or license plate lights...basically anything that gives them the opportunity to stop someone to make sure they are not impaired by alcohol or drugs. Their job is to ensure the safety of individuals traveling on the roadways, something that we all respect.
So if you are planning on celebrating this year, make sure you have a plan in place for the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road--a plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Include a sober designated driver in your group if you plan on drinking and must travel. Using a taxi service or taking advantage of celebration packages at hotels that offer rooms at reasonable rates are other alternatives, both here in Wooster and in larger cities nearby.
As I often tell my family and friends, there is no comparison between the cost of taxi ride or hotel package and the burdens of a DUI charge--financially, on your life, and those around you. Have a New Year's Eve safety plan in place before heading out to celebrate, and make it a resolution for years to come--it's a decision you will not regret.
Have a safe and happy 2017 from all of us at KCKB Law!