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  • Going Out for St. Patrick’s Day? Don’t Drink and Drive

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    Criminal Defense Attorney Fighting Drunk Driving Charges in New Mexico

    Green Beer for St.Patrick's DaySt. Patrick’s Day is a time of celebration. Even if you are not Irish, you might find yourself celebrating with green beers and lots of fun at a local New Mexico pub or club. Unfortunately, the good times on St. Patrick’s Day often lead to events involving drunken driving. So, if you plan to go out this holiday, be sure to get a designated driver on board and leave your keys behind.

    The Numbers of St. Patrick’s Day

    • Two hundred sixty-six people died from 2010 to 2014 on St. Patrick’s Day due to drunken driving in the United States.
    • Every 74 minutes in the U.S., an alcohol-related accident claims a life on St. Patrick’s Day.
    • Seventy-five percent of the fatal accidents on St. Patrick’s Day are caused by a driver that has more than two times the legal limit in their system.

    Drunken Driving is Against the Law

    Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in the state. New Mexico has some of the harshest penalties for DWIs, and lawmakers are constantly revising to add more punishments for those who choose to drink and drive – regardless of what day of the year it may be.

    During St. Patrick’s Day, you can rest assured that law enforcement will be out trying to protect people from drunk drivers. This means that you are likely to encounter:

    • Field Sobriety Tests
    • Sobriety Checkpoints
    • Group Patrols Near Establishments
    • Breath Alcohol Test Mobile Units

    Police will use these methods to apprehend anyone who appears to be drunk, and will ensure that they are not operating a motor vehicle. If your BAC comes back at 0.08 percent or higher and you are operating a vehicle, you may be arrested and your driver’s license will be taken by the officer at the scene.

    Arrested with a BAC Below the Legal Limit

    Do not assume that you must have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher to be arrested and charged with a DWI. In fact, if the officer feels that you are clearly impaired and you cannot operate a vehicle safely, you may be arrested for a DWI regardless of whether your BAC is above the legal limit.

    Therefore, if you consider yourself someone who cannot handle a few drinks, avoid such on St. Patrick’s Day, or simply call a cab.

    Can I Refuse a Chemical Test on St. Patrick’s Day?

    While you might be tempted to refuse a BAC test during one of the sobriety checkpoints, you may want to reconsider. In the state, you will face an administrative license suspension from the Motor Vehicle Division. Also, refusing to take the test does not mean that you will avoid a DWI charge or even a conviction. Therefore, refusing one could harm you more than do good.

    Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney for a DWI Arrest This St. Patrick’s Day

    If you were caught up in sobriety checkpoint for a DWI, you may still have options. Contact a criminal defense lawyer from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today at 505-375-4661 or schedule a consultation online.