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Plan ahead for parties to avoid drunk driving charges

Outdoor parties and barbecues are commonplace this time of year. For many, these come with adult beverages that can liven things up a bit. Unfortunately, many people fail to make safe travel plans for getting home if they've had too much to drink.

Not everyone who spends time with friends and family members will drink alcohol. Try to find one of these individuals who will agree to remain sober and drive you home. It is important to do this in advance to avoid the situation of a "designated driver" leaving early or consuming alcohol during the gathering.

If you can't find a designated driver before you leave for the event, make sure you have another plan to get home, such as a ride share program or public transportation. If you will have to make a call or arrange for the pick up, make sure you have the phone number in your phone or the app downloaded. Here are some points to remember that might discourage you from driving after drinking alcohol:

Alcohol impairs your abilities

One reason you shouldn't drive after drinking is that it is illegal to do so. The reason it is illegal is that you can kill someone if you aren't driving in a safe manner. That person can be either you, someone else, or worse, several other people. Alcohol is sneaky because at the same time it impairs your ability, it convinces you that you are still fine to drive. But the truth is that every drop of alcohol degrades your ability to drive safely and think clearly.

One of the ways that alcohol affects you is that it slows down your reaction time. This makes it more difficult to avoid hazards while driving. By the time you realize that you need to take action, it might be too late.

Police officers look for certain markers that indicate a driver is impaired. Drivers might stop suddenly or drive way too fast for conditions. They might weave in and out of traffic or swerve. Sometimes, intoxicated drivers don't follow traffic signals or signs. These all constitute reasonable suspicion for a police officer to stop the drivers.

Criminal charges come with serious consequences

Being pulled over for the suspicion of drunk driving is the first event that starts a chain reaction. You will likely have your driver's license suspended. You might also face time in jail, fines and other penalties from the criminal justice system. These charges can lead to social problems and other consequences, including job loss if your career depends on having a clean driving record.

The best thing to do is to avoid putting yourself in a place where you might face criminal charges. If you do end up facing a drunk driving charge, make sure you evaluate your defense options carefully.

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