10 Things You Need to Know Before Drinking on New Year’s

By Allen, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Kyle T. Therrian
Office Number: (972) 562-7549
24 Hr Jail Release: (214) 403-6522


1. It is a bad idea to drink without a plan for sober transportation. There is a reason people go to jail for DWI – it is dangerous and it is preventable.

2. Responsible social drinking is not illegal but, unfortunately, can still land you in jail. Many officers are less forgiving than the law when it comes to being “legally intoxicated.”(0.08 or greater BAC or loss of normal use of mental/physical faculties). An incorrect assessment of intoxication won’t be sorted out until prosecutors judges and lawyers get involved.

3. You can be arrested and prosecuted even if you are under the legal limit. In fact, when an officer decides on the side of the road that a person is intoxicated, they very rarely release that person even if a breath specimen registers under the legal limit.

4. Your driver’s license can be suspended as a result of a DWI. This is usually not the most severe consequence associated with a DWI but usually the most pressing, as it usually takes place immediately upon arrest and triggers a timeline for contesting the suspension with a judge.

5. An officer will initially assess intoxication through administration of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests – Field Sobriety Tests are voluntary. The tests are designed to assess a person’s “divided attention” skills (ability to perform a physical task while listening to and following instructions). The tests are unforgiving and give little consideration to factors unrelated to alcohol which may affect performance. The field sobriety tests are voluntary and may be refused but officers are trained to use language which does not allude to this fact.

6. An officer may request a specimen of breath or blood upon arrest or may request for a roadside sample prior to arrest. Except in limited types of Felony DWI cases, these tests are voluntary and should be refused. However cordial your encounter with the police may be, the officer has one objective: gather evidence for a conviction. Despite defensive issues which frequently arise in the testing of blood alcohol content, Many jurors are predisposed to accept a breath/blood test as accurate. This presents an unnecessary battle in trial. If the officer wants your BAC bad enough, he can always apply for a warrant.

7. Everything is being recorded. From the time the officer first decides to pursue your vehicle to the time you get to the booked in to the jail, the officer will be recording everything from a dash mounted camera. Be polite and don’t argue, beg, plead or apologize. I have never heard of a person who talked their way out of a DWI arrest.

8. Everything you say can and will be used against you. Prior to making an arrest, an officer can and will question you without reading you Miranda warnings. The questions are designed to gather evidence relevant to intoxication (i.e. where were you drinking, how much, would you drive a school bus of children, on a scale of 1-10 how drunk are you). There is no right answer to a lot of these types of questions – all answers lead to drunk. You should exercise your right to remain silent by politely telling the officer you do not wish to answer questions.

9. After making an arrest, officers can and will search your person and your vehicle. Be mindful of what you are carrying on your person or in your vehicle. An unrelated bottle of Jim Beam on the floor board won’t be so unrelated to the police or a prosecutor. Similarly, if you tell an officer that you only had 2 drinks, there might be problems if there is a receipt for 5 martinis in your pocket.

10. Program these phone numbers into your phone:

AAA Tipsy Tow: 1-800-AAA-HELP [222-4357] AAA provides a complimentary ride and tow for people who have been drinking on New Years Eve (up to 10 miles from the destination).

24-Hour Attorney and Jail Release Number: (214) 403-6522 if you are in a situation and need advice or if you have been arrested and held without a bond set, I can help.

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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