How To Avoid a DUI / DWI - Attorney Explains

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hi I'm Luke Nichols with the law firm of

Nichols and green here in Northern

Virginia and I'm gonna talk to you about

how to avoid getting a DUI I know first

off let me tell you what this video is

not this is not a tutorial on how to get

away with crime no this is a tutorial

how to avoid accidentally committing a

crime and you may be thinking that's

easy just don't drink and drive and be

fine but you'd be wrong because DUI is a

complicated and confusing law and many

of my clients don't realize they've

broken the law until they're handcuffed

and in the back of a cop car so I'm

going to go through and explain to you

how you can avoid accidentally being

convicted or charged with DUI first off

the term DUI itself is a real misnomer

driving under the influence well guess

what you can be convicted without

driving here in the Commonwealth of

Virginia operating a motor vehicle is

all it takes to be guilty of DUI and

operation simply requires you to have

the keys in the ignition and to be

somewhere near the driver's seat so if

you're sitting in a car that's parked

with the engine off and none of the

elect belong and the keys are in the

ignition you're sitting there you're

guilty okay additionally there's some

gray areas so if you have a push button

start on your karma you have a fob or

keys in your pocket and then you can

just push a button to start your car and

if you're sitting in the driver's seat

with the keys in your pocket in the car

off you may be committing a crime in the

state of Virginia if you're a tox kid if

you've been drinking and you know you

shouldn't be driving

don't be anywhere neither driver's seat

and don't be anywhere near the keys

otherwise you're putting yourself at

risk and we see this problem all the

time with people who go drinking or go

to a party they have too much to do you

know what I shouldn't be driving

I'm just gonna hang out in my car and

tell my ride shows up and they're just

sitting in their car waiting for their

ride to show up and here comes the

police another thing that's a real

misnomer is people think drunk driving

means driving while you're drunk that's

not true you can be guilty of DUI even

if you're not drunk in the state of

Virginia and many other places as well

there's two ways to be guilty of a DUI

either you're over the legal limit or


and so if you're not impaired but over

the legal limit you're still guilty so a

driver that safe to drive and it's sober

that feels fine if they're over the

legal legal limit they're still guilty

and the problem is no one really knows

what the legal limit feels like the

legal limits point oh eight we all kind

of know that but what does that mean and

it means different things to different

people some people can really handle a

lot of alcohol and they can drink a lot

of alcohol be just fine and other people

can't and point oh wait generally does

mean you're intoxicated for an average

person but we're not all average people

so that's a real problem the problem

with the legal limit is that none of us

really know what point oh eight feels

like and so we make this sort of

personal guesstimate you like do I feel

okay to drive do I'd not feel okay to

drive and the problem is that as you

consume alcohol your ability to gauge

whether or not you're okay to drive goes

out the window and you watched it as

responsible people drink they they can

recognize they're drunk until they get

to about point O seven and then once

they get more drunk beyond that their

ability to understand they shouldn't be

driving and to be self-aware goes out

the window the alcohol affects them that

way no that's not everybody but a lot of

people fall victim to that that they're

very responsible drinkers women they're

out of point oh four and they're

irresponsible at a point oh eight if

you're a heavy drinker if you're an

experienced drinker you can probably

drive safely at a point oh eight but

you're still guilty of DUI even though

you're safe to drive I saw this once

with a client who was at a point three

six and they were able to drive find and

pass the field sobriety tests at a point

three six

they were somebody who just had been a

heavy drinker their entire lives and

they could do that but it's still a

crime a real common DUI booby trap is

medications people don't realize that

any intoxicating substance can cause a

DUI even if it's legally prescribed or

over-the-counter a real common exam

that's our sleep medications like ambien

lunesta people will have insomnia and

they'll be tossing and turning and so

around 2:00 in the morning they decided

to take one of their ambien pills but

they've got to get up to work 6:00 in

the morning

so after only four hours of sleep they

wake up groggy on their way to work they

get in an accident officer finds out

they took some medication they get a DUI

another common example is when people

take medications to interact in a weird

way so you take some medications you

have a bad reaction to it while you're

driving and you get in an accident

potentially you could be guilty of a DUI

next to alcohol prescription medications

are probably the most common source of

duis here in the Commonwealth of

Virginia if you're on any sort of

medication that could potentially affect

your ability to drive a motor vehicle be

extraordinarily careful when you take

those medications and make sure you are

not driving if you could be affected by

those medications and just like the

bottles say don't drive until you know

how this medication will affect you

because you may have an extreme reaction

especially when you change your dosage

or you start taking other medications

with that medication so you've got to be

really careful one of the biggest

problems with duis is there's a lot of

ambiguity in our definitions if you're

under the legal limit you can still be

guilty of DUI if you're intoxicated

what exactly does intoxicated me that's

a loosey goosy standard that means

different things to different judges and

different police officers so just

because you feel you're safe to drive

does it mean a judge might not disagree

with you

and convictive so obviously the best way

to prevent this is to just never drive

if you've been drinking or if you're

anywhere near intoxicated there's any

doubt don't drive but even then there

still could be issues I've represented a

number of people who are stone-cold

sober with no drugs or alcohol in their

systems and they still got arrested and

charged and the reasons for this is that

the way we investigate duis is not

always that sign

the field sobriety test that they do on

the side of the road are only accurate

if they're done by an experienced

well-trained officer with some good

Street sense the problem is that an

experienced well-trained officer with

good Street sense can tell the

difference between a silver and drunk

person within the first few seconds of

talking to them so if you get an officer

who thinks you're drunk even though

you're stone-cold sober this is somebody

who doesn't have a lot of experience or

Street sense and this is not somebody

who's likely to do a good job on the

field sobriety test so if an officer is

investigating you for DUI when you know

you're sober that is a big red flag this

guy doesn't know what he's doing don't

take his tests here gonna come wealth of

Virginia if you're investigated for DUI

you have a right to take a breath test

on the side of the road before you're

arrested if one of those portable breath

test devices are available if you know

you're stone-cold sober or don't take

the field sobriety test

don't answer any questions demand your

preliminary breath test prove your

you're stone-cold sober and move on okay

if you had some alcohol in your system

and there's a question mark about

whether you're intoxicated or not

don't take the field sobriety test don't

take the preliminary breath test if

you've been arrested for DUI the breath

test that comes afterwards or the blood

test they demand is not voluntary if you

refuse to take it you can't be charged

with refusal and lose your license for a

significant period of time it's very

important for you to remember that

everything I'm telling you applies here

in the Commonwealth of Virginia once you

go to a different state the rules are

completely different and it can be very

difficult to keep track of all the

different laws in all the different

cities and counties and states and

federal jurisdictions so the safest way

the best way to keep yourself out of

trouble is to make sure you're never

anywhere near a vehicle

you've had any substance in your body

which could potentially affect your

ability to drive if however you've been

unfortunate enough to be arrested for

DUI here in Northern Virginia please

give us a call here at Nicholls and

green at the number below and we'd be

happy to discuss your case over the

phone or in person it's part of a free

consultation if your case is outside of

Northern Virginia contact an attorney

that's local to the area where you were

arrested and talk to them as soon as you

can often you can get a lot of

reassurance and a lot of help simply by

talking to an attorney over the phone

thanks for watching we hope this video

was helpful have a great day stay safe