How to avoid a DWI when visiting family

Driving under the influence (DWI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious mistake in Texas. The penalties for even a first-time offender include three mandatory days in jail (and up to 180), a $2,000 fine and the loss of your driver’s license for up to a whole year. That makes it especially important to plan ahead this winter when you’re visiting with friends and family and there’s alcohol involved because over-indulgence is common.

What causes people to indulge so heavily during this time of the year? Well, you could chalk it up to a desire to indulge in all the merriment of the holiday season, or you can attribute it to all the family gatherings where the spirits are freely flowing.

The bigger question is, “What can you do to make sure you avoid drunk driving charges?” Here are some suggestions:

Be honest with yourself about how much you’re going to drink

If you’re headed out to the bars with your cousins or your best friends from school, don’t tell yourself you’ll only sip a beer if you know that your company likes to party hard – and you’re easily convinced to join them.

By acknowledging in advance that you’ll probably drink heavily, you can take steps in advance to protect yourself from making a reckless, alcohol-fueled decision. That means you can:

  • Leave your car at home and get a ride or walk to the bar.
  • Make arrangements for a sober friend or relative to be “on call” to pick you up.
  • Put the apps for Uber and Lyft on your phone and get them ready for use.
  • Arrange for a designated driver to join your group.

In other words, planning ahead is much safer (and cheaper) than getting arrested for drunk driving.

If you do make a mistake, however, don’t let the case go through the court system unchallenged. You may have more legal defenses available to you than you realize, and experienced legal guidance can help you get the best possible outcome.