A common refrain that you may hear over and over in campaigns aimed at people avoiding drunk driving charges is "drink responsibly." Does this mean that you should never get behind the wheel after having even as much as a sip of alcohol? Many come to us here at The Berger Firm with this question, yet unfortunately, there is no easy answer to it. While ideally, you would have a designated driver or an alternative means of transportation to take you home after drinking, the mere presence of alcohol in your system does not warrant drunk driving charges (or else there would not be a legal blood-alcohol content limit).
Most of those who come to see us here at The Berger Firm after having been charged with driving under the influence in Covington typically state that they would never even previously thought of getting behind the wheel after drinking. You likely share the same assumption. The trouble is that one of the methods in which alcohol effects the body is to the depress the function of the frontal cortex of your brain, which regulates judgment. Thus, when intoxicated, your inhibitions often loosen, which lay lead to you making unwise decisions. The hope is that whomever is witnessing this knows when to cut you off.
It may be easy for people in Kentucky to dismiss incidents of drunk driving as simply being the actions of irresponsible people. In actuality, they may be much more complex than that. Most understand the risks associated with drunk driving. Those risks are not only to those that a drunk driver may encounter on the road, but also to the drunk driver themselves. For this reason, many might question why one would even consider getting behind the wheel after drinking. The fact that people still may an indicator of a larger problem.
Most people probably understand that it is both illegal and dangerous for a driver to consume alcohol while operating a motor vehicle but may not be aware of what the law says about consumption of alcohol by a passenger of a vehicle rather than the driver. In most of the country, including Kentucky, it is illegal for an individual to drink alcohol while inside a vehicle even if the individual is not driving.
You may hear stories of people being detained for drunk driving after registering a blood-alcohol measurement in excess of the legal limit and wonder why anyone in Covington who might potentially be driving drunk would consent to such testing. This likely comes from your assumption that law enforcement officers cannot force you to do anything that you do not want to do. What you likely do not know is that you (and every other driver in Kentucky) has already agreed to such testing.
Whenever the issue of drunk driving comes up in Covington, you likely immediately envision a person blowing into a breathalyzer device on the side of the road. That device is checking that person's blood-alcohol content. This might immediately cause you to question why law enforcement officials with test your breath to determine your BAC?
Along with all other states, Kentucky lawmakers have enacted laws against driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol a crime. DUIs are typically misdemeanors, which fall between infractions and felonies. An infraction does not carry jail time, while a misdemeanor usually means a fine and a sentence of jail time in a regional facility. A felony is much more serious and carries penalties that are more severe, typically a stiff fine, along with a prison sentence that follows you around for the rest of your life.
Have you ever wondered why people continue to drive intoxicated when it seems that everybody in Kentucky must have seen and heard about the destruction it can cause? From billboards along the highway to online ads, surely everyone knows better by now. So why is it still a problem? It might be due in part to what is known as desensitization.