Everyone is Irish on March 17, indulging in corned beef & cabbage, Guinness stew, shepherd’s pie, and . . . beer.
Green beer, Guinness, Harp, Irish Red, or whatever is on tap. Lots and lots of beer.
Here are a few tips to make sure that a fun night out with friends doesn’t turn into visit to the jailhouse.
- First of all, plan ahead and make sure you have a designated driver or responsible person to make sure you get home safely. While it’s not against the law to drive after you have been drinking, it is of course a crime to drive while impaired. While you may normally have the discipline to limit yourself to two glasses of beer at happy hour or a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, the “let-it-all-loose” vibe at a St. Patrick’s Day party may lead to you drinking more than you otherwise would.
- If you’ve had a few drinks and find yourself questioning whether you are ok to drive – you’re probably not. If you find yourself without a sober ride home, ask your bartender or server to call you a cab. Many cities offer discounted cab fares on holiday events and weekends to people who have been drinking. In Las Cruces you can call (575) 524-TAXI and a cab will take you and a friend home from a bar or party for $5; two additional passengers can ride for a total of $10.
- If you managed to stay disciplined, you are still at risk of being pulled over. You know St. Paddy’s Day is a great excuse for a party, the cops know it too. The Las Cruces Police Department has announced it will be conducting saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints in March. And by “March” they specifically mean this weekend through Tuesday.
- To reduce your chances of being pulled over, make sure you’re not on the road after 10 p.m. The cops assume that just about everyone on the road late at night is drunk, so don’t get lumped in with everyone else.
- Make sure all of your car lights are in good working order. It’s a favorite trick of cops to pull over people who are otherwise driving fine because a non-working tag-lamp. Most folks never even realize that little light is out; a quick check of all of your lights could be the difference between making it home uneventfully or standing on the side of the road doing Stupid Human Tricks.
- If you’re switching to non-alcoholic drinks to pass time between your last beer and your drive home, avoid diet sodas. A recent study found that diet drinks increase alcohol absorption, leading to higher BAC levels.
- Before you go out, make sure your registration paperwork and insurance card are current and easy to get to. If you dig around your glove box, the officer will write that down as “fumbled for paperwork” – a clue that you are intoxicated.
- If the officer asks you if you have been drinking, simply say “I’m not going to answer that.” Too often, statements about drinking result in a conviction at trial.
- Should you do the field sobriety tests? You don’t have to do them – unlike the breath or blood test, there is no law in New Mexico that requires motorists to submit to roadway sobriety tests. These tests are based upon questionable science, are highly subjective and often conducted incorrectly. If you don’t take them, you’re going to be arrested. Honestly, by the point the officer has you out of the car, he’s already made up his mind that you’re going to jail anyway.
The main thing is to have fun, be safe, and make it home without a detour requiring a bondsman.
The Lahann Law Firm wishes you a safe and happy Saint Patrick’s Day!