Given the potentially devastating penalties that could result if you’re convicted of a Southern California DUI charge, you want to exercise an abundance of caution before getting behind the wheel after you’ve consumed any amount of alcohol. What are some ‘red flags’ that indicate that you might want to turn to a designated driver or take a cab?
1. You fail self administrated “roadside sobriety tests.”
Tests like the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-the-line test, the Rhomberg test, and the finger-to-the-nose test may be useful for certain individuals in certain situations. But remember that just because you pass any of these tests (or even all of them) with flying colors does not necessarily mean that you are sober and ready to get behind the wheel.
2. You fail a self-administered breathalyzer test.
Breathalyzers can sometimes give a fair bead on your BAC level. As any Southern California DUI attorney will tell you, the normal threshold for DUI in California is a BAC of 0.08%. But just because you blow a BAC of less than that doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily sober and ready to drive. Of course, blowing a BAC of greater than 0.08% doesn’t necessarily mean that you ARE above the state’s legal limit either. In other words, these tests do not have a wonderful track record for accuracy; and in fact false-positive test results often lead to unfair Southern California DUI convictions.
3. You notice dispositional changes.
If you experience symptoms such as bloodshot eyes; an inability to complete sentences; a tendency to slur speech; impaired motor skills; or a retarded ability to complete sentences, definitely think twice before getting behind the wheel. Perhaps more tellingly — if people around you hint or joke that you’re acting drunk — this should be taken as a huge sign to exercise caution.
4. You are under 21.
If you’re a minor and you have even a slight amount of alcohol in your system, you can be tagged for driving under the influence in Southern California. Anyone under age needs to be extra cautious not to get behind the wheel in such situations.
5. You notice any intolerance to alcohol.
Your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol changes. Individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance, or even a common cold can be far more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than healthy individuals, for instance. Other factors that can influence your tolerance include your stress level, your weight, your gender, your level of fatigue, whether or not you consumed foods before drinking, whether you recently consumed narcotics or medications, and so forth.
To summarize, there is no ‘standard candle’ to guide you in all situations. Frustratingly, even if you follow the state’s posted guidelines for responsible driving, you may still potentially encounter legal problems.
Here’s a useful rule of thumb: always exercise an abundance of caution. Be very conservative when you make decisions about whether to drive or not. If you have any doubt about whether you may be too intoxicated to get behind the wheel, don’t drive. Call a cab. Ask a friend to drive you home. But don’t risk potentially injuring yourself, hurting others, destroying property and sidelining your future.
If you or a friend or family member has been arrested for driving under the influence in Southern California, Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers can provide guidance. Attorney Kraut spent many years working as a Los Angeles DUI prosecutor, and he understands how to craft a superior defense as a result of his prosecutorial experience. Attorney Kraut is an alumnus of Harvard Law School, and he’s committed to compassionate and attentive client care.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles or you are under investigation for driving under the influence in Los Angeles, please contact Southern California criminal defense lawyer Michael Kraut for 24/7 assistance by phone at (323) 464-6453 or toll free at (888) 334-6344 or online.