Eric Hunt
Eric Hunt

Avoid Halloween’s Scariest Trick: Drinking and Driving

October 29, 2016

As kids get ready to overindulge on treats this time of year, adults can be surprised by a Halloween trick that comes with serious consequences: driving under the influence.

Halloween falls on a Monday this year, which means an entire weekend packed with Halloween-themed parties and festivities, including Badger Football and Freakfest here in Madison. While it may be tempting to go out with no plan about where the evening will take you, an OWI conviction can result in losing your license, fines, jail time and more. Because of these risks, it is worth your time to plan ahead this Halloween.

But how can you make sure and avoid a Halloween OWI, while still partaking in the weekend’s festivities? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t Drink and Drive
    While it may be obvious, it is the best advice we can offer.
  • Know Your (and the Legal) Limit
    In Wisconsin, there are two separate ways you can commit a drunk driving offense: (1) being over the legal limit of 0.08 and (2) being under the influence. Even if you do not feel drunk, you may be over 0.08, especially if you drink regularly or have some alcohol tolerance. But even if you are under the limit, you can be stopped and arrested for driving under the influence, if the alcohol you drank impairs your ability to drive. If you’re at a Halloween party, eat! An empty stomach can result in a higher blood alcohol level. Be sure to carefully monitor your drinking – if you plan on driving. An important note: don’t rely on personal breathalyzers to determine your blood alcohol level. There is no guarantee that a reading on one of these machines will be the same as measured by law enforcement.
  • Make a Plan
    The best way to avoid drinking and driving is to make a plan before going out. On Halloween, there may numerous parties and events for people to attend, and alcohol tends to be freely available. Not driving at all is the best way to avoid driving drunk, and the best way to avoid driving is to make a plan. Before going out, designate a driver for your group, and as the night wears on, stick to the plan.
  • Call for a Ride
    Even if you don’t have a designated driver, it’s easier than ever with technology to get a ride home. You can download ride-sharing services, like Über and Lyft, to call for a ride to your location. You can also keep a taxi company phone number handy in your phone. It is always better to leave your car parked overnight than it is to drive drunk.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over half of all traffic fatalities on Halloween involve alcohol. Law enforcement tends to step up enforcement on Halloween with more stops and checkpoints. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test of your breath or blood, there can be significant consequences.

Following these suggestions can help you avoid a drunk driving charge, and keep you, your family, and your friends safe.

If you are charged with an OWI, the best thing to do is contact a qualified attorney. An attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, and help you develop a strategy to address your charges.

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