The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis always advocates that those individuals who have been drinking should utilize a designated driver or other means of safe transportation home. However, as the following story illustrates, agreeing to be a designated driver is not advisable if one has been drinking. According to a recent report at Philly.com, a New Jersey woman ended up getting not just one, but two of her friends in hot water after she called one of them to act as her designated driver following her arrest for DUI. This incident began over the weekend in New Jersey when 34-year-old Carmen Reatequi was pulled over for swerving on Route 22 East. After failing a sobriety test, Reatequi was permitted to leave the police station, so long as she had a safe means of transportation home.
Reatequi called her friend, Nina Petracca, a 23-year-old Dunellen woman, for a ride home. Upon arriving at the station, however, law enforcement officers noticed that Petracca, who had driven at the station, was also displaying signs of intoxication. After failing field sobriety tests administered in the police station lobby, Petracca also found herself charged with DUI, and the two friends remained stranded at the police station. The two friends then contacted 33-year-old Ryan Hogan, who came to the police station to drive the drunken duo home. Unfortunately, he, too, had been drinking, and ended up charged with DUI himself. Eventually, the three friends were released to a sober adult, and were ordered to reappear in court on their DUI charges in January.
The moral of this story is that while serving as a designated driver is a laudable action, it is highly advisable that you not be intoxicated when agreeing to do so. For both the original drunk driver in this case and the two designated drivers who were ultimately intoxicated themselves, the consequences of a drunk driving conviction can be quite severe. All three of the individuals in this case now are likely to face penalties such as suspension of their driving privileges, fines, community service requirements, installation of an ignition interlock device, and even jail time. For the potential designated driver, then, it is essential that one not agree to be a designated driver unless one is completely sober.
Fortunately, the three individuals in this case do have potential options to avoid a DUI conviction. For instance, all three individuals allegedly failed sobriety tests, a factor that led to their arrests for DUI. Field sobriety tests are administered at the discretion of law enforcement officers; as a result, they may be administered erroneously under some circumstances. Officers may wrongly interpret the results of those field sobriety tests, or there may be other factors that impact the outcome of those tests, such as medication or a health condition.
With the help of an experienced DUI lawyer, those individuals who are accused of DUI may be able to minimize the impact of DUI charges or avoid a conviction altogether. Your DUI attorney can challenge the administration or results of field sobriety tests or other evidence in support of the charges against you. As such, if you or a loved one is facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer today to schedule an appointment.