St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most exciting times of the year. For a fair amount of people, this usually involves consuming alcohol. With that said, there are a significant amount of people who become intoxicated. Should this intoxication occur at a bar, please make sure you have a sober driver give you a ride home.
Should this sober driver be stopped by police, there is a high likelihood the officer is going to smell alcohol emitting from the driver’s vehicle since he or she is giving an intoxicated individual a ride home. Just know already, the officer is going to believe the driver is intoxicated because he/she smells alcohol.
Since the officer will believe the driver is intoxicated, he is going to ask the driver to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). The SFST consists of the walk-and-turn test, HGN test, and the one-leg-stand. Since the conditions are never great and the driver has been inside a motor-vehicle with an intoxicated individual, it is always a good idea to take some time and then make the decision to not perform the SFST. Depending on the experience of the officer, they may tell you it is a “pass or fail” test or they are just going to say they are using it for “investigative” purposes to determine whether or not you are intoxicated. For the most part, the SFST is scored at the discretion of the officer; so remember, the cards are stacked against you. The SFST is used to gain evidence to prove the driver is intoxicated and confirm the officer’s belief. Simply put, you should not take the SFST.
Next, the officer will request a preliminary breath test (PBT) from the driver. This is another tool the officer says he uses to prove you are not intoxicated. If you blow .000, it still doesn’t mean the driver is off the hook. In these situations, and assuming the officer believes the driver is under the influence, the officer will still handcuff the driver and bring them back to the police station because the officer now believes that the driver is under the influence of a controlled substance, such as marijuana. It is very important while speaking to the officer to elicit information from him what he believes you are under the influence of prior to his requests.
At the police station, the officer will request that the person give a breath sample. Should you provide .000, the officer will request a urine sample. If any amount of THC or other drug shows up on the urine sample you can, and likely will, be charged with an OWI. As you may know, THC stays in a person’s system on average for about four weeks; of course, this depends on the amount of intake. When requesting the urine sample (or out in the field), the officer will ask the driver the last time he used was to determine whether or not the driver was “under the influence” at the time he was operating the motor vehicle. If a person says they smoked within the past 10 hours, the officer usually assumes the driver was under the influence at the time of operation.
So you ask how do you keep yourself out of jail? While you are at the police station make sure you request to speak to an attorney while at the police station. First off, because the attorney will give you good advice. Secondly, while speaking with the attorney your blood alcohol content (BAC) is likely on the downfall. The lower the BAC the better chance you have at getting a deferred judgment or being below the .08. Remember, just being in a small area where alcohol is being consumed can cause you to become intoxicated because you are inhaling the fumes, so make sure you have the windows open while you are driving the intoxicated person home.
Aside from OWI’s being a big deal over St. Patrick’s Day, domestic abuse assaults also seem to rise over this holiday. In my experience, a majority of domestic abuse assaults occur because either one or both parties involved in the domestic dispute are drinking.
In regard to domestic assaults, law enforcement is required to arrest someone should one of the parties claim they were injured during the domestic assault. Although I think this law is terrible, officers will arrest someone should there be something as little as a scratch or redness on one of the parties. As a result, there will most likely be a no-contact-order (NCO) put in place preventing the parties from having any form of communication. This NCO will likely stay in place for at least 2-3 months. This is true even when both parties want the NCO dropped (I know, it doesn’t seem right or fair). The best bet at getting this dropped is hiring an attorney so that he or she can file an application with the court allowing for the NCO to be canceled or at the very least modified to the extent the parties can communicate via electronic communication and obtain counseling together. Whether or not the Court allows the NCO to be modified or canceled depends on the situation as every case is unique in its own way.
In my experience, domestic assaults will cause people to lose their jobs, drain their bank account, and make the two party’s life miserable. The NCO can sometimes prevent parents from seeing their children and force them to move to a place they don’t want to live. I certainly understand there are the cases where the wife or husband was seriously injured or almost killed from the domestic assault and there needs to be a NCO put in place in those situations, but it seems like in about 80%-90% of my domestic assault cases both parties want the NCO dropped immediately. In the majority of situations, it is just best to hire an attorney to handle the matter. This is because the attorney is allowed to communicate to the protected party; this is the only (unless stated otherwise in the NCO) exception to the NCO where communication may be made by the defendant to the protected party. I certainly understand the stress of the NCO’s as I’ve seen them ruin families across the state of Iowa. Should you have any questions regarding a no-contact-order or domestic assault charges do not hesitate to contact the Feld Law Firm. Stay safe and enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day!