If you’re drunk, don’t drive. Don’t avoid drinking and driving because you want to injure someone. Don’t avoid drinking and driving because you don’t want to total your car. And don’t prevent drunk driving because you want to avoid arrest, losing your license and the opportunity to pay enormous fines.

You don’t have to drive drunk to be jailed — and determined guilty. We live in a world that says any individual with almost any measure of alcohol in the system is a front-runner for a DUI and is 100-percent liable for any mishap that may happen — despite who caused the collision.

If you drink and drive, despite how moderate you are in your drinking, there is a valid possibility you could be pulled over, apprehended and convicted. Most persons don’t realize how many drinks it takes to surpass the legal standard of 0.08% blood alcohol content. For the ordinary size person, 3 or 4 cocktails could move them into the drunk-driver slot on the ticket. Even based entirely on a cop’s allegation that you were impaired, you could be indicted as a drunk driver.

B.O.H.I.C.A.

Have a few beers with your friends after work, get ready to go home, run into a sobriety checkpoint and BOHICA (Bend Over Here It Comes Again).

A random roadblock is a law enforcement tactic meant to check for valid identification, up-to-date insurance, scan for drunk drivers and look for dangerous fugitives. A checkpoint is almost always set up in a location where drivers can’t see the checkpoint until it’s too late to turn and backtrack.

Sobriety checkpoints often set up late at night, or early morning,  utilize a portable and fast  ‘breathalyzer.’ The cops process the cars and drivers like a conveyor belt as they scan for traffic infractions beyond DUIs.

Despite the Fourth Amendment protecting individuals against unreasonable search and seizure, law enforcement’s use of sobriety checkpoints isn’t prohibited by the amendment as long as the cops announce in advance that the checkpoints will happen and where.

It’s Not Really About Public Safety

For the last six years, law enforcement in Skokie, Illinois outpaced most cities when it came to ticketing drivers during drunk driving patrols. Only a small number were ticketed for driving while drunk.

Cops write, on average, 29 tickets for each drunk driving arrest they make. That amounts to 3% of 14,000 tickets recorded. Skokie cops were well rewarded for making their ticket quotas as the department was given over $850,000 in federal grant money.

Critics raise questions about the small number of arrests and ask if the imposition on drivers pulled over without cause — especially during sobriety checkpoints — is worth it.

“Anyone with common sense will scratch their head and ask, ‘What’s this about?'” said John Bowman, spokesperson for the Wisconsin-based National Motorists Association.

“The bottom line on DUI checkpoints: they’re not about scrutinizing persons for DUI. They’re intended to screen drivers for technical violations such as insurance, under the guise of public safety,” Bowman added.

Should You Refuse a Breathalyzer?

Since this is a legal question and this isn’t a legal-advice blog, speak to an attorney. Generally, a lawyer will tell you something like, “This is not easy to answer.” Any lawyer worth his license will tell you to refuse both a breathalyzer and a field sobriety test, however if you get a traffic ticket, you may not have as much choice. States have “mechanisms” in place to encourage you to blow into the machine.

Understand that if you’ve recently been drinking and you blow into the breathalyzer, you’ve given law enforcement the probable cause they need to arrest you. Both tests are designed to fail you. That’s the reality.

Another reality is most states have an “implied consent” statue in force. That means since the state issued you a driver’s license and allowed you to drive on their roads, you have implicitly consented to blood, breath or urine tests.

Even if you decline submission to the blood, breath or urine test, several things will happen:

  1. Your unwillingness may be held bite you in trial as proof of violating the implied consent decree, or
  2. Your driver’s permit can be held in abeyance until your case is resolved, or
  3. You can be compelled into a compulsory minimum jail sentence which is doubly long as the compulsory minimal sentence if you accede to the tests, or
  4. You may not be able to get a hardship permit after any mandatory suspensions, or
  5. All of the above

Pretty harsh, right? There’s one simple secret that will keep you from being run over by the system, losing your license, paying higher insurance and all the other ‘good things’ that can come your way. What’s the secret?

Don’t drink and drive — ever.