Alcohol consumption makes Halloween one of the most dangerous nights of the year because more drivers and pedestrians are on the street. Knowing spirits and libations will be brewed in cauldrons everywhere and consumed over weekend costume parties, many local law enforcement agencies around the country are stepping up DUI enforcement.
The potential consequences
Virginia has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to driving under the influence. If you are under 21, the tolerance is even lower. The legal limit is .08; however, those under 21 can be slapped with a DUI for having a BAC of .02 and will have their licenses administratively removed for at least one-year. If your license was previously restricted or suspended for DUI, you will be subject to that same BAC even if you are over 21.
Driving with an alcohol container anywhere near the passenger seat where the contents appear to be partially removed, can get you cited for drinking while driving under the open container law. Especially if you appear to have consumed alcohol.
Most convictions for DUI come with minimum penalties, which include fines. On a first time offense, the mandatory minimum fine is $250.00 and one-year license revocation. The penalties stiffen as the number of offenses increase. Moreover, Virginia reports all DUI offenses to the Central Criminal Records Exchange, which means you may end up with a record just for the arrest.
What you should do if you are arrested
- Don’t speak. Officers can and will use what you say against you. They may even try to lead you into making statements that will incriminate you. Utilize your right to be silent.
- Write down everything that happened. You will want to include what you remember about where you were and what you were doing, as well as details leading up to the arrest.
- Contact a criminal law attorney who is experienced with defending DUI cases as soon as you can so they may evaluate your case and intervene as soon as possible.
The best way to avoid getting a DUI on Halloween is to either not consume alcohol or prepare ahead of time and use public transit or have a designated driver. In the event you do get pulled over, just remember the steps outlined above. Be safe and have a ghoulishly good time this Halloween.