It really isn’t worth having a drink, then driving in Alaska. That’s been said so many times before that it can become part of the background and forgotten or ignored. This article outlines some of the possible consequences of drinking then driving and then being arrested for DUI and convicted.
What’s legal and what’s not and why it’s hard to tell if you are over the limit
Theoretically, if you knew how much alcohol was in your blood, accurately, at any one time, you could have a drink and make sure you were under the legal limit. That, by the way, is 0.08% blood alcohol concentration for non-commercial adults, but half that, 0.04%, if you hold a commercial driver license and 0, zip, for minors, i.e. anyone under 21.
A can of beer with an alcohol content of 5% is rated as one standard drink; a glass of average wine is also one standard drink. Spirits are much more concentrated. Four standard drinks will probably get your blood alcohol level up to the danger level as far as 0.08% is concerned, but here there’s a problem. Gender, age, body shape and type and genetics all play havoc with how fast alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and then metabolized (the body recognizes it as a toxin so gets rid of it through the liver, but this takes time). One drinker may register 0.08% after drinking half the amount of someone else. And then not everyone is able to safely concentrate after four standard drinks, or even one or two standard drinks. If you weave down the road, or worse, hit a pedestrian, after two cans of beer, you could still wind up with a DUI conviction. That’s why DUI stands for “driving while under the influence.”
Because there is no really accurate way of telling what your blood alcohol level is after a drink or two or three, its best to always have a plan. Drinks after work? Take a cab home. Drinks at a party or someone else’s home? Cab or sleep over at their place. A night at a bar? Use a dedicated driver, a cab or a night at a hotel. It’s not sensible to sleep in your car. A cop can arrest you for DUI even if you aren’t clutching your ignition keys. The charge might not stick, but it’s not worth tempting fate.
Why it’s not worth drinking and driving in Alaska
Alaska has some of the strictest drink driving rules in the U.S., but it’s worth thinking about some of the personal consequences of a potential accident. Alcohol, even in small amounts, can decrease your ability to react, reduce visual acuity and concentration. This is a deadly combination when driving. You could seriously injure or kill someone. That someone could be you, a friend or a member of your family. Even not taking into account the legal consequences, these serious repercussions could haunt you for the rest of your life and give you nightmares or even PTSD.
The legal consequences
If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, breathalyzed and charged with the offense, there are several serious consequences if convicted.
- DUI is a criminal offense. If it is the first time that you are convicted and haven’t caused any injuries, you might get away with a misdemeanor. If it is a repeat offense, or you hurt or kill someone, this will be a felony offense and prosecutors will do their darndest to get you convicted.
- A DUI criminal conviction means at least some time in jail, possibly a long prison term if it is a felony.
- There will be a substantial fine, the size of which depends on the circumstances and whether it is a repeat offense.
- You will have your license suspended, possibly canceled, depending on the circumstances.
- Even when you have your license reinstated, your insurance premium will probably be higher.
- A criminal conviction could get you fired. It could affect your prospects for promotion, affect your chances of getting another job or entry into a college or university.
- A criminal conviction will haunt you and your family even if you never drink again.
Why you will need a dedicated criminal defense attorney if charged with a DUI offense
Your chances of having a conviction for DUI thrown out or a sentence minimized increase markedly when you enlist the help of a dedicated, successful criminal defense attorney. You cannot be convicted unless prosecutors can prove beyond a doubt that you were driving while under the influence of alcohol. A good DUI attorney can use weaknesses in the prosecution case to have your DUI charge dismissed.
In Anchorage, contact the Law Office of Dattan Scott Dattan as soon as you have been arrested for DUI. He will fight to represent you in court. Call Dattan Scott Dattan’s office in Anchorage at 907-276-8008.