On the Fourth of July, we often celebrate our nation's independence by grilling, setting off fireworks, and consuming alcoholic beverages. Due to the popularity of alcohol, this holiday is also considered the number one holiday for fatal car accidents. According to the National Safety Council, it is estimated that over 500 traffic deaths occur each year over the Fourth of July weekend, and 39% of those traffic deaths involve an alcohol-impaired driver, the highest percentage among all the major holidays.
In order to deter drunk driving and keep the public safe, the police will patrol the streets in full force to arrest suspected drunk drivers. With a significant increase in the presence of law enforcement, it is important to be aware of the likelihood of spending the holiday—or perhaps the rest of the weekend—behind bars.
Tips to avoid being charged with a DUI or an alcohol-related offense over the Fourth of July:
Do not drink and drive or boat – Always have a designated driver if you choose to drink and get in a vehicle or a boat. While open containers are allowed on a boat, the same rules that apply to drinking and driving also apply to drinking and boating as far as impairment. Boat operators can be arrested for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) if their blood alcohol level is 0.08% or greater. Those convicted of operating a boat under the influence can receive a maximum fine of $1,000 and a sentence of up to six months in jail.
Call an Uber/Lyft or a cab – If you do happen to partake in the holiday festivities and do not have a designated driver, utilize Uber/Lyft or a taxi service. People up in Cascade and McCall can pre-reserve rides with Cascade Yellow Cab (208-972-9983) and Tony's Taxi (303-396-5855).
Prescriptions and illegal drugs count too – In Idaho, you can be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if your ability to drive is impaired by prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or any combination thereof. Over 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication, and police use this to their advantage. If they pull someone over for a DUI and find that the person is not over the legal limit for alcohol, they create a reason to perform a blood draw and charge the individual with DUI based upon prescription medications. Because of this, avoid driving if you take any medications that cause drowsiness and/or dizziness, including sleeping medications like Ambien, anti-anxiety medications like Zanax, anti-depressants, or decongestants.
Public intoxication - Like a DUI, public intoxication is a misdemeanor that can result in a fine and/or jail time. A person can be charged with public intoxication in Idaho if they are on a public street or highway while under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree that renders him or her a hazard. What qualifies as a hazard depends on the circumstances, but the language of the statute is broad and incorporates a wide range of behavior, including being loud and rowdy on a public street.
If you have been arrested for a DUI or another alcohol-related offense in Idaho, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.