St. Patrick's Day weekend is always a risky legal time for revelers. In a haze of green beer and Irish Car Bombs, you might be tempted to take your impaired judgment to the streets.
Well snap out of it! Here are five sobering legal tips to keep you safe this St. Patrick's Day weekend:
1. Yes, DUI Checkpoints Are Legal.
Nothing can kill your buzz quicker than being stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Unfortunately for buzzed drivers in most states, these checkpoints are entirely legal -- and panic and adrenaline do nothing to lower your blood alcohol concentration.
Luckily, many police departments will actually publicize the locations of sobriety checkpoints ahead of time, in the hope that drivers will make a sober driving choice.
2. Public Intoxication Can Happen to You -- Even If You're Not Drunk.
You don't have to be the caricature of a drunk with cartoon bubbles coming out of your mouth for law enforcement to slap you with a public intoxication charge. In many states you simply have to appear drunk and be in public.
So avoid doing your drunk leprechaun impression outside the bar, and you won't have to try to fight a public intoxication charge.
3. Taking a Leak in Public Can Be Charged as a Serious Crime.
Drunken St. Patrick's Day partiers often think the world is their toilet. Not so, says criminal law (and decency, for that matter). Depending on your city or state, taking a much needed whizz in public may not only be illegal, but in some cases, a conviction could potentially require you to register as a sex offender.
Not quite the life of Riley.
4. Pot and Pills Can Get You Busted for a DUI.
If you prefer something more "green" this St. Patrick's Day weekend, don't forget that stoned driving can be just as dangerous and illegal as drunken driving. Even if your poison is green-colored OTC cough syrup, you're playing with legal fire if you get behind the wheel.
5. Out-of-State Crimes Can Stick Around.
Contrary to popular belief, crimes from other states do stay on your record. Just because it occurred in a different area code doesn't mean your DUI will be forgotten in your home state. Depending on the state, your ability to expunge an out-of-state DUI conviction will vary.
If you wake up after St. Patty's and are worried about your criminal consequences, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney near you.
- How to Avoid a St. Patrick's Day DUI (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Luck o' the Law: Tips for St. Patrick's Day (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Randy Travis Arrested for Public Intoxication in Front of Church (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- 9 No-Nos at DUI Checkpoints (FindLaw's Blotter)