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Drink responsibly on St. Patrick’s Day

As St. Patrick's Day approaches, an unfortunate consequence of the festive holiday is drunken-driving arrests. As attorneys, we know how serious the consequences of a DWI/DUI conviction can be -- suspension of license, fines, probation, a stain on your record, and even jail time. For this reason, I'm often asked what someone should do if they're pulled over on suspicion of DWI/DUI. Many don't know that some symptoms of nerves -- stuttering, fumbling items, an inability to walk in a straight manner, and short tempers -- may be confused by an officer as signs of intoxication. For this reason, it's important to empower clients with knowledge so their nerves don't betray them during a traffic stop. 1. Have your paperwork ready. It’s a known fact that police officers  are going to ask you for some key documentation: license, registration, and insurance card. The quicker and more effortlessly you get it, the less likely they’ll think you’re drunk. It also prevents the chances of you “fumbling.”  What's fumbling? It’s when you drop your wallet, license, etc. after being asked by an officer to demonstrate said material. As most DWI/DUI attorneys know, the police officer will often cite “fumbling” of documentation as evidence of intoxication.

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2 comments

  1. Several points.

    1) It’s worth noting that the PBT cannot be used in court against the motorist.
    2) Under Brosan v. Cochran, a motorist has the right to consult counsel while in the station before she decides whether to take the breath test, but police are NOT required to advise the motorist of that right.
    3) Cabs are expensive, but the longest cab ride in Maryland is probably less expensive that the fair market price of an attorney for an DUI charge, especially if the license hearing is thrown in.

  2. Bruce,

    All good points, especially, number 3.

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