Monday, August 30, 2010

The Back to School DWI

It's been a long and hot Ithaca summer. Compared to last year's record coolness, and lack of humidity this summer was brutal. I think we used the old window A/C units only few times last year. In fact, I was bragging to some friends how summer here is so lovely, blah, blah, blah, and then 2010 balanced it all out.

Cornell University and Ithaca College students are back, and the town is buzzing once again. My law practice focuses on DWI/DUI defense so naturally I have represented many students over the years.

One all too common DWI scenario is when a boyfriend and girlfriend have a nice dinner or a small party/get together. They all plan to spend the night, enjoy some drinks, and no one plans on driving. Then later in the evening or in the wee hours of the morning a fight or argument ensues. Maybe a drink spills on a laptop, or the liquor/beer/wine brings out some honest feelings or perspectives. Maybe the conversation becomes heated. Tempers flare and all reason gives way to heated emotion.

Now one party demands that the other leave immediately. Your best friend/lover/partner may even call the police after you leave, and tell them you are driving drunk or that you are driving high. With the flip of a switch you are in DWI hell. This situation is so common in my world that I call it the back to school DWI.

I always tell students that the time to think about a back up plan is not in the heat of the moment. You cannot think clearly with a combination of alcohol, and a polarized emotional state. Do not take any chances with your future. Always have cash and/or a credit card for a cab. Always have a car service number programmed in your cell contacts. Never assume that your friends are always looking out for your best interests. The bottom line is you have to protect yourself.