DWI Avoidance


You can’t go wrong with number 1… Don’t drive if you have had something to drink.  Or, at least if you have exceeded your personal limit.  But set your limit when you are stone cold sober.  Think about it.  If you can “feel it” in any respect, you are probably on your way to being impaired.  Set your limit and abide by it.  It’s sort of like setting your spending limit before you go into your favorite store.  Although factors such as body weight, gender, age, frequency of drinking alcohol otherwise, proximity in time to eating, all may have some effect on “feeling it”, those factors may not have as much effect on your numeric blood alcohol level.  The law in North Carolina says that if your B.A.C. is .08 or greater, you are impaired regardless of how you are affected physically or mentally.

Don’t make your vehicle a target.  In North Carolina, officers only need a “reasonable articulable suspicion” that something is afoot.  And that doesn’t take much.  The standard question in court by the prosecutor to the arresting officer is “ . . . and Officer, what drew your attention to this particular vehicle?”  One headlight… one stoplight… tag light out.  Then it goes from there.  So do yourself a favor.  Every couple of weeks, check your headlights, taillights, tag lights, tag properly affixed, and for both wipers operating.  Be sure your vehicle registration, inspection status, and this month’s insurance premium payment is current.  And get rid of that window tint that’s so dark you can’t see inside the car!  If you do get pulled over, the officer not being able to see inside the car guarantees that enough back-up to suppress the Russian army will descend upon you.

Watch your driving otherwise.  Buckle up!! Watch your speed.  Pick a lane and stay there.  Don’t let that turn signal go on and on and on.  If you have been drinking and are considering driving a vehicle that is registered in the name of someone who has been convicted of DWI and whose license is currently revoked for that reason, then DON’T.  The officer is entitled to assume that the registered owner is driving the vehicle until he finds out otherwise, so when the officer runs the tag, you will get stopped.

If you realize that you should not be driving, find a parking lot or other safe place (preferably a private drive if you know the folks), pull over, TURN THE ENGINE OFF (if the engine is running and you are under the wheel, the law says that you are still driving), and stand outside the car if weather permits. Call someone to come get you and your car. If an officer approaches you before your ride gets there and asks if you have been driving, or how did the car get to where it is, DO NOT ANSWER.  It may take some effort on your part to not answer, but if the officer is just busting to make an arrest, he may forget that you are being a responsible citizen by getting off the road and may try to turn the encounter into a DWI arrest.

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