Independence Day celebrations are a big deal around North Carolina. People tend to go out to parties. Barbeques. Pools. They go boating. There’s a lot of eating, a lot of fireworks… and often, a lot of drinking.
Why does this matter? Because one thing you definitely do not want over the holiday is to get a DWI charge. Not only will it put a big black mark on your record and end up costing you a lot, driving after you have had a few drinks just isn’t safe. It doesn’t matter how skilled you think you are. Every year on the 4th, far too many car accidents occur due to people driving while intoxicated.
Bottom line? If you will be out partying this 4th of July, make sure you pay keen attention to the tips below. They can help you to avoid getting a North Carolina DWI.
Practices That Can Keep You from Getting a DWI in North Carolina
- If you’re driving to an event, always choose a designated driver.
This is one of the most cliché statements made when it comes on to avoiding DWIs, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If you’re going to an event with a few friends, choose someone to remain sober before all the fun begins. Make sure that you select someone responsible enough who will stick to the plan. Once you select your designated driver, it means that everyone else will be allowed to drink as much as they’d like but still remain safe on the drive home.
- Think about using public transportation.
If you don’t have to drive, public transportation may not be a bad idea. It will remove the temptation of driving back home since there will be no car to drive. Plus, it will force you to remain sober enough so you can actually get home using public transportation. In some instances, you may even be able to schedule a pick-up time if you are using a taxi service.
- Stay where you are.
Going to a party that’s not very close to home? Why not make it an overnight trip? You can stay with a friend. Or get a room at a hotel. Either way, you will be able to recover from all your drinking before attempting to drive back home.
- Consume alcohol-free beverages.
You don’t have to drink alcohol just because you’re at a party, and skipping it doesn’t make you a party-pooper. It just means that you want to be sober for your drive back home. Many events will have drinks that do not contain any alcohol – or at least very small amounts of alcohol. If you are disciplined enough, this may be an effective strategy for you. Feel awkward about not drinking? Don’t tell anyone – no one has to know that you’re not drinking liquor, too.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
If you are planning to consume alcoholic beverages, make sure you’re not hungry when you do so. Drinking liquor on an empty stomach will only make you get intoxicated faster. Most parties will have some form of food there, and if it’s a barbeque you’re pretty much guaranteed lots of hearty, yummy eats. If you didn’t eat before you arrive at the party, make sure that you have some food while you’re there. This can slow down the rate at which you absorb alcohol, keeping your BAC lower.
- Stop drinking several hours before you have to drive.
You don’t have to be sober for the entire day or party – just for the drive home. If you stop drinking several hours before you have to drive, it will likely give your body enough time to process the alcohol so that your BAC is within the legal limit. Take care, though. While time definitely sobers you up, how much time you need depends upon how much you drink.
- Call someone to pick you up.
We’re all human. Sometimes we plan not to drink at a party but the situation gets the better of us. If you find that you are at a party and you end up drinking more than you should, call a friend or family member to pick you up. Chances are that someone will be available to do so. In some cases, you may be able to leave your vehicle where you parked it until the next day. If not, you can get someone – someone who hasn’t been drinking – to drive it back for you.
No matter what you do this 4th of July, make sure you stay safe. DWIs are no joke.
If you do get pulled over and find yourself charged despite your best efforts, make sure that you reach out to a knowledgeable North Carolina DWI attorney as soon as possible to fight back.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense. He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.