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Does Drinking Plus Driving Always Equal Drunk Driving?


Since it's mid-summer in Tennessee, many people are enjoying outdoor gatherings with friends and family, perhaps having barbecues or picnics by the lake, or just having a few people over for a late-night swim in the backyard pool and a few cold drinks. That latter part can lead to problems if you're not careful. A sure-fire way to interrupt summer fun is getting pulled over and charged with drunk driving. 

Having a glass of wine or a couple of beers at a backyard party, however, doesn't necessarily mean that if you then get behind the wheel of a car to drive, you'll be breaking the law. There are typically many factors involved, although the only thing a police officer needs is reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop (i.e. your car drifted toward the center yellow line on the road.). In the long run, if you're well-informed and prepared ahead of time, you shouldn't have trouble steering clear of intoxicated driving.

By keeping these tips in mind, you may avoid drunk driving

Whether you're the host of a party that includes alcoholic beverages or are a guest at someone's home, it's up to you (and every other adult) to make responsible choices regarding alcohol and motor vehicles. The following ideas have been helpful to many and may increase your chances of reaching your destination safely and without legal trouble:

  • Most areas throughout the state have access to public transportation. If you know you'll be drinking alcohol, you can arrange ahead of time for a taxi service to transport you back home after the party.
  • It's often possible to sleep over at the same location where your party takes place, whether at a friend's house or a local hotel.
  • The consumption of food inhibits alcohol absorption in the bloodstream; so, it's always best to eat an appropriate portion of food along with any alcoholic beverage you consume.
  • If you know you will be driving later, you can set a timer to let you know when to stop drinking alcohol, in order to give your body plenty of time to process it before driving. During the several hours interim, you can ask the party host for some coffee, tea, water or other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • In general, the earlier the party starts, the better. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy a drink or two, but also plenty of time to abstain before operating a motor vehicle (or to make last-minute responsible choices when needed, such as asking someone who is alcohol-free to drive you home if you think you've had too much to drink).

These are all good ideas for helping you and others stay safe and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol. However, what happens if you do get pulled over and charged with this crime? Do you know there have been convictions handed down in court against people whose blood alcohol content levels were beneath the legal driving limit? You just never know how a traffic-stop-turned-criminal-charges situation is going to pan out. This is why many Tennessee residents think ahead about where to find help in a pinch.

There's often a lot an experienced defense attorney can do to help someone accused of drunk driving mitigate his or her circumstances. It all begins by relaying as many details about the incident in question as you can remember, then determining which may be the most viable option for a strong defense.