Updated: 2 days ago
Large language models come to the rescue.
SINCE IT'S LAUNCH IN November 2022 ChatGPT has exploded in popularity. It’s website regularly attracts 1.5 billion monthly users.
It is tremendously powerful at condensing gargantuan amounts of information on a topic into one area.
Problems arise if people rely on ChatGPT for definitive answers to questions.
ChatGPT’s answers are only as good as the information that is fed into the internet. Much of that is obviously inaccurate which affects the accuracy of answers.
I’ve taken ChatGPT’s advice as to what the top 10 questions for drink driving are. The answers are from my own non-GPT brain.
This is not a sexist comment, but it is directed at women:
if you’ve been drinking and have a huge row with your
mother, partner, husband, do not get into the car.
In the vast majority of the cases involving female clients,
the precipitating factor prior to being arrested
was an argument with a loved one.
What is the blood alcohol limit for driving in my area?
In Ireland the blood alcohol limit is 0.5 (50mgs per 100mls of blood). That’s the same as France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg, but less than the UK (0.8).
It’s difficult to quantify. Is 0.5 one drink or two? Let’s say you’ve had a pint of beer. That’s regarded as 2 standard drinks. It will take you 2 hours to process that, in other words, 2 hours until you can safely drive.
Would the limit ever drop to zero? No, because you’d need to have some baseline reading that could explain small traces of alcohol found legally. For instance, alcohol (at very low levels) is contained in mouthwash, aftershave, perfume, hairspray and even some non-alcoholic drinks.
If people could be arrested for drink driving because of perfume, Louis Vuitton might as well file for bankruptcy.
How long does alcohol stay in your system?
In general alcohol can be detected on your breath up to 12 hours after drinking. If you haven’t been drinking, you can tell right away if someone else has.
If the police detect alcohol, they’ll either arrest you on suspicion of drink driving or require a breath specimen. If you fail this, you’ll be arrested.
This is what’s known in the trade as a “no-win” situation: if you’re driving and they smell alcohol there’s an above 92% chance of arrest.
What are the penalties for a drink driving (DUI) conviction?
If you’re convicted, you will be disqualified from driving. That’s guaranteed. The court doesn’t care about your personal circumstances.
That leads to an obvious question: how do you avoid being convicted?
Well, there’s something you need to understand about drink driving: just because you were over the limit does not mean you’ll be disqualified.
Sounds counter-intuitive but bear with me.
These cases are highly technical. In order for a judge to convict you they must be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the State have proven their case. In other words, that the evidence that they’ve heard in court is enough to meet the standard of proof.
What if it isn’t?
What if the police officer forgets to say (they are human after all) a crucially important fact in evidence? If the judge cannot be satisfied that the case was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, that means an acquittal.
First principles are the legal means necessary to achieve an acquittal.
If you’re acquitted that’s an example of first principles at work: you were over the limit, but you were still acquitted.
Drink driving cases are complex and winning
often boils down to your lawyer’s ability to persuade
a judge to accept an argument they’d rather not.
This is hard enough when things are going reasonably
well in court, virtually impossible if you’ve behaved
like a WWF wrestler while in custody.
How can I avoid getting caught for drink driving?
Obviously not driving after drinking is a good idea, but we all know that. But I’ll tell you something I’ve learned from representing people for drink driving in almost every county in this country.
This is not a sexist comment, but it is directed at women: if you’ve been drinking and have a huge row with your mother, partner, husband etc, do not get into the car. In the vast majority of the cases involving female clients, the precipitating factor prior to being arrested was an argument with a loved one.
This is not well understood or studied and drink driving messages would do well to focus on this.
With men there are usually a number of different reasons for why they drank and drove, none of them specific. Often the excuse is that they “took a chance”. For women it is almost always the case that a fight had just taken place and they felt they needed to flee.
If you’ve been drinking and have a blazing row do not allow anyone to get into the car, least of all yourself.
Are there any home remedies to lower my blood alcohol content?
No. Medical science (the Medical Bureau of Road Safety) says that there is no way of speeding up this process.
If the only way to sober up quickly is the passage of time, then only 2 conclusions are possible: drink less the night before or leave a longer gap between your last drink and driving next day. Mouth washes, water, exercise or food don’t work.
Can I refuse a breathalyser test or field sobriety test?
Of course, you can! But then you’ll be arrested and brought to the police station anyway. If the police have grounds to seek a breath test (and the law gives wide latitude here) you must provide it, or you’ll be arrested.
Sometimes people make some half-hearted feeble attempt at blowing into the roadside breath device. Presumably this is in the vain hope of defeating the device. The police have seen this one a million times before. They’ll just arrest you.
Field sobriety tests are almost never used. Why?
If the police officer believes that you’re drink driving they’re not going to waste their time asking you to walk a straight line to see if you’re drunk. They don’t need to. They already suspect you’re drunk.
And anyway, what if you wandered out onto road and got knocked down by a passing car?
Safer just to arrest you.
How can I sober up quickly after drinking alcohol?
People usually only ask this question when they’re thinking of driving the morning after. In 2022 there were 5,622 blood and urine specimens taken.
About 425 (7.5%) were taken between the hours of 4am and 7am.
The police have this really inconvenient habit of getting up early in the morning to hunt for people like you.
So, if you’re thinking of driving the next morning…
What are the consequences of a DUI on my driving record and insurance rates?
If you’re convicted of drink driving, you will be disqualified from driving. That’s bad enough, but bigger problems lie ahead.
At one time if a person had been disqualified, they could expect a hefty increase in their future insurance premium.
Now, people are finding that insurance companies simply will not quote them if they have a conviction for drink driving.
Worse, if you get arrested and your policy comes up for renewal a few weeks later, some people are finding that they still can’t get insurance.
In other words, their insurance company isn’t waiting to see whether they’ll be convicted or not, they’re convicting them themselves.
That brings us back to first principles: if the consequences of being convicted are intolerable, every effort must be made to avoid being convicted.
And yes, this is possible.
How does a DUI affect my ability to travel internationally?
It’s highly unlikely that even if you’re convicted that you’ll be prohibited from travelling abroad. Even countries with tough immigration standards, like the United States, do not bar someone from entering due to a drink driving conviction.
This is because the US classifies criminal convictions into two types: offences of “moral turpitude” and offences of “non-moral turpitude”.
Offences of moral turpitude are those that require a “criminal intent” i.e. murder, rape, assault, robbery, drug dealing etc. These are offences that require significant criminal premeditation. The US don’t want these people and will refuse entry.
Offences of non-moral turpitude are the opposite e.g. they don’t require criminal intent. These are drink driving, careless driving, speeding and other road traffic offences.
They won’t stop you having a cheeseburger with Uncle Sam in Times Square.
Field sobriety tests are almost never used.
If the police officer believes that you’re drink driving
they’re not going to waste their time asking you
to walk a straight line to see if you’re drunk.
What should I do if I’ve been arrested for DUI?
This may sound obvious but if you’re arrested, behave yourself. Like most self-evident things we tend to ignore them because they’re so obvious.
Good manners are a given right?
Alas no. I’ve represented clients who’ve been so drunk they’ve called the police every expletive under the sun. It’s at times like this you see judges putting their pen down and examining their nails.
You may have a good legal defence but if you were verbally or physically abusive to the police you’re sunk.
Again, this makes sense when you read it but almost everyone discounts it because they focus on the law. In truth this is all that should matter but judges are human too and they dislike bad behaviour. It tends to cloud the law and their view of you.
Drink driving cases are complex and winning often boils down to your lawyer’s ability to persuade a judge to accept an argument they’d rather not.
This is hard enough when things are going reasonably well in court, virtually impossible if you’ve behaved like a WWF wrestler while in custody.