A Police Officer Told Me To Use Uber, Lyft or Sidecar and Later I Got a DUI?

San Diego DefendersA Police Officer Told Me To Use Uber, Lyft or Sidecar and Later I Got a DUI?

Lawyers who handle DUI’s are seeing it more and more.  People plan to go out and use Uber or Lyft or Sidecar or any of the other ways of getting around, and then later decide to drive home and get arrested for DUI. Sometimes a cop might tell a client to use one of the shared ride apps. The client then goes to a friend’s house after an office holiday or Christmas party, sleeps it off and gets up to go get their car. Just like the cop told them to do! Problem is…client gets pulled over that morning and has a BAC well over the .08% legal limit to drive.

Or … Lots of times they all meet at one friend’s house and Uber or Lyft or Sidecar from there and plan on crashing at the friend’s house.  Inevitably, somebody decides they would rather get home because they figure they are safe to drive.  Next thing they know, they are being pulled over by the cops ... and the Jack Daniels “cologne” remark does not amuse the police officer.

Well, you probably guessed it! Our client comes to us and declares that they did exactly as the police officer directed them to do. Get a safe “shared ride app” ride home to sober up before retrieving the car. So what went wrong (besides the usual whoops, did I just say that to the boss after imbibing the holiday cocktails a little to freely?) What happened that I would end up with a DUI ticket after the company holiday party?

There is actually a good explanation for this “white elephant” of a problem.  It is called the Mellanby Effect.  We tend to feel the effects of alcohol more when our blood alcohol level is rising than we do when it is coming down otherwise known as “burning off the booze.”  Experts are not exactly sure why this happens.  The best guess is that it is, as Einstein would say, “relative.”

That is, when your alcohol level is going up, you’re feeling better and better and you are enjoying yourself more.  When your alcohol level is coming down, you are getting more and more sober and you also add in the anxiousness and desire to get home into the equation.  So, we all try to be responsible and wait until we feel sober to find out car and drive home.  But, it is “relatively” easy to still be over the legal limit if you had a really good time at the holiday party.

If you started off using a ride sharing app, but, then got caught driving home and arrested for a DUI, you need to hire a DUI lawyer who knows how to use the fact you had been responsibly using a ridesharing app (not to mention the prosecutor may be hip enough to use one as well) in the negotiations in your DUI case.  Depending on the facts of your case, it can mean the difference between getting a good deal and avoiding the DUI or in how much punishment you end up with. Remember, with the use of Livescan background checks these days, a DUI may cause more problems than you bargain for.

Far too often we at San Diego Defenders hear clients say “I was guilty anyway, so I just pleaded guilty with the Public Defender.” That can be a HUGE mistake. Our Constitution was designed to protect us, and if there is a possible defense to a DUI charge, we are committed to finding it and using it to our clients benefit. A benefit that may not be realized until years down the road when our client is applying for a new job!