Too often, people end up getting arrested for driving under the influence because they felt they were better able to drive than a friend who had consumed even more alcohol. However, you should never prevent a friend from driving drunk by taking the wheel yourself if you’ve also been drinking. Next to a friend who’s highly intoxicated, you may feel sober and in control when in fact you may have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit.
So, what should you do to prevent a friend from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
If possible, talk to them privately. If you don’t embarrass them or make them feel defensive in front of others, they may be more willing to agree not to drive.
If neither you nor anyone else is in a position to be a “designated driver,” call an Uber, Lyft or cab. Offer to pay for it and to help them retrieve their car the following day. If you can call someone to pick you up, like your parents, do that.
If your friend is at your house, let them sleep over. If you’re at someone else’s house, try to get the host to let them stay. Chances are that they don’t want to be held legally responsible for letting someone leave their home who’s clearly under the influence — particularly if there’s been underage drinking or illegal drug use.
If none of these attempts works, ask for help from others who can help prevent someone from getting behind the wheel.
Whatever you do, don’t get in the car with a driver who’s under the influence. Typically, passengers can’t be arrested along with a driver who gets a DUI. However, if a passenger isn’t legally old enough to drink or if there is an open bottle of alcohol, any drugs or drug paraphernalia in the car, they could find themselves facing police interrogation and possibly related charges. It’s not unheard of for a passenger to be charged with reckless endangerment for allowing someone under the influence to drive.
If you or a loved one is charged with DUI, don’t try to navigate the legal system on your own. A DUI charge can follow you and impact your life for years. An experienced attorney can offer valuable legal guidance and work to help mitigate the consequences.