The Tampa Bay Times recently asked “if you drink more after a crash, can you avoid a DUI?” A Tampa Bay man named Tracy Garon ran through a red light in his Rolls Royce and hit another car, killing the driver. Once police arrived, they detained Garon believing he was drunk, but then turned their attention to the crime scene. Left by himself, Garon walked into a nearby convenience store, bought a beer, and began drinking it. When the police officers saw what he was doing they took the beer away, but Garon managed to knock it over and let the rest of the beer spill out.
So in Garon’s case did drinking a beer right after the accident let him avoid a DUI conviction?
No. From the article:
In court, Garon pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was sentenced in June to 17 years in prison.
In Florida, a DUI accident causing death or permanent injury gives the police the right to take a blood sample of the suspected drunk driver. When Garon’s blood levels were tested they were three times the legal limit and declining, meaning that even if he had drunk the whole beer he was still probably very drunk at the time of the crash.
Also, if Garon’s case had gone to trial the jury would most likely hear about him buying the beer and trying to chug it. While you can never really predict what juries will do, they probably wouldn’t look too kindly on him going to buy a beer right after he’d killed someone with his Rolls Royce.
People will still try it though:
“We have people who when pulled over for driving drunk … throw the key out of the car and pop open a beer,” said Pinellas Park police Sgt. Adam Geissenberger.
The best way to avoid a DUI is to not drive after you’ve had too much to drink. Use a DD. Call a cab. Use Uber or Lyft. If you do get arrested for a DUI get an attorney to protect your rights, but it’s best not to be in that situation in the first place.