If you plan to travel Utah roadways during spring break, you’ll want to know about this state’s traffic laws and regulations. In fact, familiarizing yourself with traffic laws in every destination location you’ll encounter typically makes for a good driving habit. Unfortunately, police officers interrupt many college student vacations when they pull drivers over and charge them with drunk driving. Going to jail obviously isn’t on your spring break itinerary. Thankfully, ways to avoid the problem exist.
The easiest way to prevent trouble with the law while you and your friends enjoy time away from your studies obviously includes abstaining from alcohol if you plan to drive. However, that might not keep you safe from arrest. Surprisingly, many people currently facing drunk driving charges throughout the nation never consumed a single alcoholic beverage before getting behind their wheels. This is often due to the fact that other things (such as prescription medications and many over-the-counter cough syrups, for instance) may cause positive Breathalyzer test results due to their ingredients.
How to lower your DUI risk
Just because you want to enjoy one of those fancy drinks with the little umbrellas in them while you’re on vacation, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll break the law if you then operate a motor vehicle. It all depends on many factors, including statements police make, the results of field sobriety tests, chemical test results and more. However, if you keep the following in mind during spring break (and always) you may prevent serious problems:
- Transporting alcohol: What if you and your friends purchase a bottle of wine to take back to your hotel? In such circumstances, it’s typically best to lock it inside your trunk rather than travel with an open container of alcohol in the front or back seats of your vehicle.
- Mindful driving: It’s easy to get distracted when traveling with a carload of friends on vacation. If you’re constantly turning your head around to talk to someone behind your driver’s seat, or engage in other activities while driving that pose safety risks, you could wind up in a collision, or a police officer might pull you over for veering over the centerline of traffic or other erratic maneuvers. It’s always best to remain alert and focused behind the wheel to avoid DUI.
- Age matters: If you’re under age 21, the blood alcohol content level for legal operation of a motor vehicle is much lower for you than those of legal drinking age. States often call this a “zero tolerance” policy. The bottom line is you risk conviction and penalties just for consuming alcohol underage, much less driving after doing so.
- Allergies may also matter: If the antihistamines you take for your allergies make you sleepy or sluggish, you may want to hand your car keys over to someone in better driving condition. A police officer can charge you with DUI if he or she believes your ability to drive is impaired.
No one wants to call home during spring break to tell their parents they’re in jail. Drunk driving is not a minor traffic violation; it’s a crime, and penalties in Utah can be quite severe. Hopefully, the above list will be useful in helping you to avoid drunk driving problems during spring break.
If a police officer does pull you over, it’s best to remain as calm as possible and cooperate as best you can. It’s also generally a good idea to request legal representation as soon as possible after your arrest and before the situation moves any further through the criminal justice system.
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