Upticks in OWI’s During the Holiday Season

car stopped by police

The holiday season is supposed to be joyous and eventful for people across the nation but for a significant amount of people it is lonely and depressing. Whether it is that you have very few family members and friends or you simply do not have enough money in your bank account to buy gifts for loved ones, it can cause someone to get down-and-out. Consequently, this causes (along with a few other things) a person to drink or use controlled substances.

Additionally, the holiday season usually requires that people travel often to work Christmas parties, friend Christmas parties, and family Christmas parties. At these parties, there is a fair chance that alcohol is going to be involved. Drinking too much at these events can lead to making the poor decision to drive. And one thing leads to another and you are stopped for speeding on your way home from the party. The police officer comes up to your window and smells alcohol, how should you handle yourself?

First off, you should always be polite to the officer that stopped you. They are the people who make the decision whether or not to charge you with a crime or crimes. Further, they are more than likely wearing body cams, should you be charged with an OWI and take your matter to trial the jury most likely will be able to view the officer’s bodycam.

Secondly, I would recommend you not take the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFTS). These are used by law enforcement to gain evidence against you to show that you are drunk or under the influence. Officers will tell you if you can “pass” the tests you’ll be free to leave when in all reality the officer has already made their mind up that he or she thinks are under the influence. These are not really “pass” or “fail” tests. Yes, there are “clues” that the officer notes but it is at the officer’s discretion whether or not you “passed” them. Some officers state that the SFTS are used for their investigation and that you cannot pass or fail them; it just depends on who you get for an officer. Further, I’ve had a fair amount of cases where the officer has arrested my client for OWI even though they did quite well on the SFTS. Simply put I would advise against taking the field sobriety tests.

Next, the officer will take you to the police station if he or she believes you are under the influence. In other words, if you are at the police station the officer thinks you are under the influence and is intending on charging you with an OWI. You should be read your implied consent advisory rights and may be read your 804.20 rights (right to call a family member, attorney, etc. . .). You should always try and speak with an OWI attorney before trying to decide whether or not to take the Datamaster (breath test) at the police station. It is so very important to do this. After speaking with an OWI attorney, try and call another OWI attorney along with family members to arrange for the potential of your bond being posted.

Should you end up being charged with an OWI, make sure you contact a defense attorney as soon as you are out of jail because your rights are forfeited in some matters if you don’t act in a timely manner such as your Iowa driver’s license will be revoked within ten (10) days from the date of your arrest unless you get your appeal on file with the DOT.

OWI’s can become very complex if you don’t stay on top of things. To make sure things are done correctly, and more importantly legally without your rights being violated, it is a very wise idea to contact an OWI defense attorney to work with you on your case. Feel free to contact the Feld Law Firm at 515-802-7676 and we’d be happy to answer any of your OWI questions.