What Kind of Designated Driver are You?

what kind of designated driver are you?We know that the safest way to get home after drinking is not to drive. That means that we either need to have phone numbers for taxis or rideshare services handy, or a plan that includes a designated driver. Designated drivers are unsung heroes, as we continue to rely on the kindness of our friends. When it comes time to return the favor, what kind of designated driver are you?

Our exceptionally scientific survey* has revealed four designated driver types, including:

  1. The Abstainer-For-Life: You probably decided many years ago that you were just not the drinking type. You have reaped many benefits from your decision, including fewer hangovers and embarrassing moments. In exchange, you are probably the first person anyone calls when they need a ride home, but you will never, ever have to worry about how you’ll get home or if you will need an ignition interlock device.
  2. The Parent-to-Be: You are either pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or you are abstaining from any alcohol in solidarity with your partner. Fortunately, your status means you are likely not going to get a very late night call for a ride home. You may, however, eventually reclaim those drinks you passed on… parenting is hard.
  3. The “Pay Backer”: Your name came up as this weekend’s designated driver, and you know you need to take one for the team. You’re not bent out of shape, though, it’s the least you can do! Just remember that even one drink can break the designated driver code of honor and that the “least drunk” person is not the safest driver in the bunch.
  4. The Storyteller: You are a designated driver for the sheer amusement of collecting stories of all the ridiculous things your friends do. You are a hero, and you get to tell the tales that your crew never wants to be told. You win bragging rights and a hangover-free morning.

Wherever you fall on the designated driver spectrum, you are doing us all a favor. Pat yourself on the back, and get some free drinks and appetizers while you’re at it. We thank you for your public service, and for all of the stories that will follow.

*we made up the survey, but the results are still pretty accurate.

Colorado DUI Diversion Program for Drunk Drivers

Colorado DUI diversionPeople are charged with DUIs every day in the United States. Whether you’re a habitual offender or you suffered a momentary lapse in judgment, as a DUI offender you can expect to be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law. However, first-time offenders who meet certain conditions may be eligible for a deferred sentence.

In the state of Colorado a program exists to prevent defendants from committing additional crimes, aid victims of crimes, enable defendants to pay restitution to their victims and reduce the number of cases in the Colorado judicial system. The the Colorado DUI Diversion program creates a legally binding agreement between the defendant and the district attorney in which the defendant agrees to counseling, payment of restitution, and certain other conditions, and the district attorney agrees that if the defendant successfully completes the program, no charges will be filed or they will be dismissed if already filed.

You must meet certain criteria to be considered for the Colorado DUI diversion program. The following things will be considered when determining your eligibility:

  • The nature of and circumstances surrounding the crime
  • If you have any special characteristics or circumstances
  • If diversion is consistent with your rehabilitation or reintegration
  • If public interest is served

Your Colorado DUI diversion agreement will be unique to your situation. It must take all the circumstances and facts surrounding your particular incident into account to determine the best ways for you to provide restitution. It will require at least a few of the following:

  • An alcohol assessment
  • Alcohol counseling and treatment
  • Payment of restitution
  • Community service
  • You cannot commit any other crimes or possess firearms while in the program if you own a firearm you will be required to surrender it
  • Ignition interlock

Drinking and driving is a serious offense, and even if you qualify for a diversion program the repercussions are vast. Money and time will be sacrificed in this process. Save yourself from both by having a plan to prevent drinking and driving.

Your Shot at an Arizona DUI Deferment

Arizona DUI deferment diversionArizona DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation, and the consequences are just as strict. As such, when facing a drunk driving conviction, we all look for the easiest way to get our lives back. Some states offer DUI deferment or diversion programs for many “simple” offenses. However, Arizona DUI law does not budge, and it does not offer plea bargains or DUI deferments. Instead, your key to reducing the impact of your drunk driving conviction is in your commitment to using your ignition interlock device.

Ignition interlock devices are required for all Arizona DUI Offenses.

A DUI is charged when you are arrested for driving dangerously and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures at or above .08 percent. Sometimes, even if your BAC is lower, you could still be charged with a DUI if you are clearly a danger on the roads. If you are convicted, even if it is your first time, you will have an ignition interlock requirement.

However, if you and your Arizona ignition interlock device are getting along and you have not had any violations or further DUI problems (among other criteria), you could be eligible for a six-month reduction in the time you are required to use the device. You could essentially reduce a one-year interlock requirement in half, just by being a model interlock user. You cannot change the criminal consequences of your actions, but you can at least restore your freedom earlier than you originally thought.

Arizona DUI deferments and diversion programs are not an option, which means it is on you to make up for the impaired mistake that could have caused a lot more worry than When you are serious about getting your life back after an Arizona DUI, your best road there includes an ignition interlock device. You will not be able to drive without one until you are successfully driving WITH one.

The New Year Low Calorie, High DUI Risk Dilemma

low calorie DUI riskHappy New Year, and best of luck with your resolutions! One of the top, “New Year, New Me” self-promises is the one to lose weight and be healthy. Often, that promise leads to new food and beverage choices, like diet drinks and low-calorie mixers at the bar. Before you get all excited about your new six-pack, remember that light beer sixer you just picked up can actually still cause you to gain weight, and possibly face a DUI risk at the same time.

Low-calorie or diet drinks with alcohol can have two unexpected effects on a person’s judgment, increasing the DUI risk:

  • When we believe we are consuming fewer calories, like with a light beer or skinny wine, we may actually drink more. Additional drinks, even with fewer calories, still contain alcohol, and many times those diet drinks are just as potent as their full-strength versions. The result is a somewhat less caloric happy hour with the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) risk. Some of those diet mixers, like sodas, can actually increase the impairment factor of a drink. So your rum and diet soda may actually be more potent than if you had skipped the soda entirely.

We all want to be healthy and still enjoy the pleasures of life. When those pleasures involve alcohol, remember to use your best judgment, and even keep the drinks to a minimum, at least when you’re out on the town. The DUI risk (and subsequent ignition interlock requirement) and likely is a much bigger mouthful to swallow than adding on a pound or two, and a criminal conviction will stick around much longer than those last five pounds you’ve been trying to lose. Make this year a year where the New You plans to be healthy, fit, and as far away from a DUI risk as you can possibly be.

DUI Proof Your New Year, For Life

dui proof new yearOne more year is ending, with the hopes and promises of a clean slate beginning on Tuesday. We are not here to beat a dead horse, or to sit upon our high horse. In fact, horses and drunk driving really do not have a lot in common. What we do want to remind everyone of is that each year, and each day, we all have a choice to make when we have been drinking: whether or not we can drive safely.

One in three traffic-related fatalities are attributed to drunk drivers, a statistic that has not budged much in the past few years. We have watched as states increase penalties for drunk driving, expand their ignition interlock access laws, and increase the training and presence of law enforcement. Still, that number remains pretty much the same. The only reasonable conclusion we can come to is that we are not doing enough to prevent drunk driving. We are not stopping our friends and family, and we are not stopping ourselves.

This year, let’s DUI proof our lives, for our family, friends, and loved ones, and for everyone on the roads.

Drunk driving is a choice. It is a 100% preventable crime that destroys lives. You may be too non-confrontational to take away the keys of a friend who has had too many drinks, or you may be too embarrassed to ask for a ride home when you have been drinking. However, each of those choices you make can devastate the lives of others. Being DUI proof means you do not care how it looks when you call for a safe ride home, you only care that people (including you) get home safely.

Drunk driving is one of those choices you can not change, and you cannot take it back. Be smart and safe, DUI proof your New Year and your life, and be the change we all need to see in the world.

ICYMI: Utah Wins 2017 for New Drunk Driving Limit

drunk driving lawAfter the past few years and around a dozen states passing laws requiring more types of drunk driving offenders to install ignition interlocks, we were really excited about what 2017 would bring to the world of drunk driving laws. Safe streets should be a right, not a privilege of those who do not live in so-called “alcohol culture” states. However, it seems that those states that are not soaked in brandy or battered in beer are also not as concerned with creating safer streets.

Florida failed, once again, to expand ignition interlock access for all drunk drivers. While there is a clear problem with drunk drivers in the Sunshine State, there seems to be a bigger problem in the legislature – for the last two years, bills have been introduced to require interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Each year, those bills have not moved forward, without any reason.

Wisconsin tried to implement some type of new drunk driving laws and succeeded. Only, the state ignored one of the most obvious problems it has (a first time OWI isn’t a criminal offense) and instead has made it easier for convicted drunk drivers to get back on the road, even if they do so illegally. We cannot stress enough how easy it is for a person with a revoked or suspended license to still drive a vehicle, especially if they are impaired. Then you have an unlicensed, uninsured, unsafe and unsober driver on the roads.

Utah may have actually caused the biggest gasp to emit from the mouths of lawmakers, tavern leagues, and happy hour ticket holders. The state reduced the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for a DUI, essentially saying that buzzed driving is now a drunk driving criminal offense. It probably comes as no surprise that the state has a strict ignition interlock policy, as well as other directives on the sales and production of alcohol. It is also one of the safest states in the country.

We hope that 2018 will be a year for more drunk driving law changes. Our safety depends on it, no matter which state we call home.

Your California Ignition Interlock is No Joke, Fool

California ignition interlockPeople who drink can be funny. Not funny, like a comedian or golf superstar funny, but funny in the way that they sometimes think they can drink and drive. In a land known for its entertainers and performers, we can all take a little sage advice from those who have faced a very unfunny future: California ignition interlock devices are no laughing matter.

A California ignition interlock requirement means that you have been convicted of drunk driving at least once. There is nothing funny about drunk driving, which is why you now have an interlock; so that you don’t try for an encore incident. The California ignition interlock device is designed to keep you from drinking and driving by measuring your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If your BAC measures above a preset limit, then your ignition is temporarily disabled. If the BAC comes back too high during a rolling retest (after you have started the vehicle and are driving), then you will be gently reminded to pull over and shut off your vehicle.

Trying to fool your interlock device will just get you into more trouble. There is no amount of air from a balloon, a friend, fangirl, or fanboy that will get you out of a new role: ignition interlock violator. You may think it isn’t a big deal to blow your test like that, but you’ll either end up with no interlock and a suspended license, a longer time requirement with the device, or consequences like jail.

Jail isn’t funny, neither is drunk driving.

Instead of being the funny face behind the wheel, you can pretty easily turn things around by finding a safe ride home. When you fiddle and fool with your California ignition interlock, you become a punchline that nobody really gets anyway. Be smart, silly, and sober, and keep your ignition interlock drama to a minimum.

You Have a Full Week of DUI Decisions

DUI decisionsHappy Tuesday, how is your hangover?

This kind of week only happens every few years, where there is no pause between the Christmas and New Year holidays, just a few weekdays that nobody is taking seriously. There is a sense of intoxicating freedom in the air this week, or maybe that is the intoxication of alcohol. After all, with only a few days until Friday, when we start the New Year’s celebrations early, there’s no real reason to stay sober, right? DUI decisions can make or break the rest of your life. Literally. There is no “hair of the dog” that can fix a hangover built on regret.

When we take advantage of the time off during the holiday season, a lot of us will continue drinking like there is no work tomorrow. Whether or not you need to clock in, you may want to remember that drinking and driving is still a crime, and still deadly, even during the holiday break. This complicates the week of fun you had planned because each day is just one more of those DUI decisions you have to make.

Remember that even if you drink and get a few hours of sleep, you could still be intoxicated from the night before. Morning-after DUIs are still a thing to be aware of, especially if you tied one on the night before and lived to battle your morning commute.

When you have a week of DUI decisions to make, that is a nice handful of days to make the right decision. When you don’t drink and drive, you don’t have to worry about court costs and ignition interlock devices. There’s no panic over the past and how you could have done things differently. Choosing not to drink and drive means you made the right decision, one that saved lives in the process.

Celebrating Sober Driving with Holiday Glee

sober driving through the holiday seasonEither you love the holidays, or you cannot stand the holidays. Either way, they are almost over, and you have a lot to be proud of like you have not had any problems with a DUI so far! Right? Mistakes happen, and they happen a lot more frequently during high-stress times, like in December when we are so busy doing for others that we forget our normal safety routine when drinking.

Instead of beating yourself up later, let’s try a few of these:

  • This year, let us all be present for Christmas, and make sure nobody is driving home if they have had any drinks. Today is a gift, and so is sober driving.
  • Let us try to plan our parties and gatherings with an understanding that not everyone will be able to drive home safely, so we must make those calls ourselves. The holiday spirit can take away keys just as easily as it hands out drinks. It is called balance.
  • We can use our collective holiday cheer to raise money for DUI prevention programs, like MADD.
  • We can simply pledge to drive sober this holiday season, and mean it all year long.

We are not trying to take the fun out of the holiday season, but we know enough about DUIs, drunk driving, ignition interlock devices, and the devastation of impaired driving to remind you of what you stand to lose when you drink and drive.

Happy holidays to everyone, and may the coming year be one filled with fun, friendship, and more rolling good times than rolling retests!

From our ignition interlock elves to your family, we wish everyone the happiest of holidays, the seasoniest of seasons, the wonders of winter, and the security of safe roads. Enjoy these good times and keep fighting the sober driving fight.

Weird DUI Plea: Save the Paws!

weird DUI save the pets pawsWe hear a lot of weird for DUI stories, and a lot of weird DUI pleas (beer battered fish, anyone?). However, we do not often get a chance to see how drunk driving can subsequently affect the lives of our furry, feathered, or finned friends. With the exception of this ad, of course:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56b09ZyLaWk]
Of course, it was refreshing to see a recent editorial take on the problem of those drunk drivers who are drinking while driving. That’s a DUI so dangerous that it takes a minute to realize that people still DO drink alcohol while driving (it is technically still legal in Mississippi). Otherwise, there would be no reason to beg driving drinkers to stick with cans of beer, not bottles so that their pets’ feet were not affected when empty (and broken) containers became litter on the sidewalk.

Breathe. Dogs, litter, cars, and alcohol do not mix. You’re not crazy.

Also remember that if you drink and drive while you have a dog or other pet in the vehicle, you are endangering their life, too. Your pet, much like a young child, has no choice but to ride along with you when you are intoxicated. For their safety, if not for yours or the safety of others on the road, ditch the drinks before you drive. You could have an aggravated DUI charge that reflects animal cruelty, on top of any other drunk driving consequences, like an ignition interlock device.

When it comes to DUI and our pets, remember that we are the ones who have to make the choices. So, let’s not drink while driving, or drink and then drive, let’s not litter, or try to get drunk on goldfish. Let’s keep all of the weird DUI things to a minimum so that we can enjoy our time with our animals, not missing their happy faces.