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How to avoid a DWI during the holidays

Holidays are opportunities for kicking back and having a few drinks. However, when you end up having a bit too much to drink and then get behind the wheel, you run the risk of hurting yourself and others. Authorities in St. Louis often set up additional drunk-driver checkpoints during holiday times when drivers are leaving parties and more likely to exceed the Missouri state limit of having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent.

It is important for you to understand how you can enjoy the holiday season and social events without getting a DWI on your record. Keeping a couple simple tips in mind can make the difference between an accident or arrest and getting home safely.

Being aware of checkpoints and saturation patrols

Law enforcement authorities often use drunk driving checkpoints to raise public awareness about drunk driving and to try to deter people who have had too much to drink from getting on the road. In 2017, however, the Missouri government proposed reduced funding for these checkpoints as part of a larger budget bill. This brought up the question of whether checkpoints are less effective than so-called saturation patrols. 

Saturation patrols are when four or more officers work in a concentrated effort in one area to deter drunk driving. Its supporters say that checkpoints are ineffective because word quickly spreads once one is set up, thus defeating the purpose. Knowing that saturation patrols may be more widely used can help you understand the increased risks of getting a DWI.

Staying within the legal limit

In Missouri, the legal limit for BAC is 0.08 percent. In practical terms, however, it may be confusing to understand how many drinks that actually translates to. Several factors play a role in determining your BAC, and as such, the best advice is not to get behind the wheel if you have anything to drink. If you miscalculate and take the risk of driving while over the legal limit, the authorities may place you under arrest. During a stop, police officers will make their own observations about your sobriety or lack thereof. Officers take several other factors into consideration besides the test of your blood alcohol limit. This means it may not be effective to try to gauge how many drinks will keep you below the legal limit.

It is never safe to take a risk in getting behind the wheel if you have had any alcohol to drink. The authorities know that many people do so during the holidays, however. That being the case, if the police stop you at a checkpoint and you have had too much alcohol, remain courteous and polite. If they place you under arrest, you may wish to seek professional advice from an attorney with experience handling DWI cases.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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