Any time that people come together to celebrate, they need to be wary of combining drinking and driving. Given the cultural focus on gatherings and green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s especially sobering to see the frequency that Americans drink and drive on the holiday.

Over the five-year period of 2009-2013, there were 276 reported drunk driving deaths on St. Patrick’s Day, which averages one every 46 minutes. Not only are people drinking and driving, but they do so after consuming large amounts of alcohol. It’s reported that 75 percent of St. Patrick’s DWIs register at over twice the legal BAC limit of .08.

Seen the flashing lights?

If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of DWI, your citation is a ticket, not a guilty sentence. It’s possible that you erred in judgment, but getting a citation does not always mean that you were in the wrong. There are reasons for false positives when testing intoxication, in either a field sobriety test or a breath test.

Possible causes for a false positive include:

  • Improper calibration of the breath test device
  • Improper administration or monitoring of a breath test
  • Foreign substances, either in the mouth or in the nearby environment
  • Medical conditions

Knowing your rights

DWIs are a serious matter, especially because drinking and driving can have fatal consequences. Depending on your situation, a single ticket can be very expensive and may include jail time and loss of license. They may also impact your job status, insurance rates and have other social costs.

While drunk driving is a serious problem, it is also important that your individual rights are protected. Probable cause and due process are essential values of our legal system, ensuring that the law treats everyone equally. If you have received a DWI ticket, a consultation with an attorney will allow greater insight into your situation.