Your mouth may have dropped open when you read that title; however, not only can you expect a substantial auto insurance increase if police charge you with DUI and a Pennsylvania court hands down a conviction, but you will likely face thousands of dollars of other expenses, fees and penalties as well. In fact, if convicted for drunk driving, it may have long-term negative effects on your private and professional life.
After reading that, it's likely that the last thing you want to do is face DUI charges in court. The problem is that, even when you set out to enjoy your free time and make responsible choices regarding alcohol consumption and getting behind the wheel of a car, sometimes things happen when you least expect them to, and before you know it, your uneventful ride home may turn into a living nightmare.
Ways to prevent trouble
You may be able to avert the entire issue by thinking and planning ahead the next time you gather with friends or a loved one for an evening out. The following ideas may prove helpful to avoid intoxicated driving and preserve your freedom:
- If you're concerned about drinking and driving, you may want to host a party at your own house and invite your guests to spend the night so they can avoid legal problems, too. This way, everyone has a safe place to gather, and no one has to worry about ending the night in jail.
- It's only natural to want to party away from home sometimes, though. You can still prevent potential problems by offering to abstain from alcohol if you're the driver or rotating turns with your friends so that you always have a designated driver, but it doesn't always have to be you.
- There are many options to choose from nowadays with regard to paid transportation services. If you and your friends chip in, you can hire safe rides home for all.
These are all good ideas but may not always be options in every situation. And besides, just because you have a drink (or two) containing alcohol does not necessarily mean you are breaking the law if you drive later. It doesn't take much for a police officer to claim reasonable suspicion to pull you over in a traffic stop, however.
One minute, you may be driving along, thinking of all the laughs and good times you shared with your friends, and the next thing you know, red and blue lights are flashing and a siren is blaring behind you. If this happens, it's always best to try to remain as calm as possible.
You don't have to go it alone
It's also very helpful if you remember your rights and invoke them. Although the next hours, days, even months may get a lot more challenging before they get better, you can tap into all support resources available to minimize the stress of the situation and build as strong a defense as possible.