Did You Have Drinks With Dinner?

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For most of us, this occurs after a dinner at a local restaurant or perhaps after a holiday gathering.  For others, it’s a child at college, driving after drinking with friends. 


Most drivers will never face any sort of legal or medical predicament.  However, for those individuals who do find themselves with red and blue flashing lights behind them and know that they were drinking, here are some tips on what to do:


  • Stay calm.
  • Open the window just enough to speak with the officer and to hand him your documents.
  • Be polite.
  • If the officer asks you to submit to standard field sobriety tests, politely decline (You won’t pass).  There is no authority that requires you to submit to this testing.  You are only convicting yourself.
  • If the officer asks you to provide a breath sample at the scene, again, decline.  You may tell him that if he wishes to ask any further questions it must be with counsel.
  • The officer must now make a decision as to whether there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI and you will have given him no evidence to do so.
  • If you are arrested and transported for a blood test, submit to this test. Failing to do so will cause a 1 year automatic license suspension regardless of the results.
  • Watch what is used to cleanse your skin prior to the blood draw.  If it’s a clear moist swab, they are introducing alcohol to your skin in order to put a needle through it to test for alcohol.
  • Contact legal counsel immediately.


Driving under the influence is one of the great legal fictions.  There is no valid scientific criterion for determining the amount of alcohol in one’s blood during the time he or she was operating a vehicle, because it changes minute by minute.  There are also a number of “wildcards” such as age, gender, weight and the length of time since your last meal that impact any reading.


Jay C. Whittle, Of Counsel to Reager & Adler, PC, specializes in Criminal, Traffic, and Immigration Law

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Harrisburg Magazine Readers' Choice 2011