By Dale Gribow

You may be asking if the number of drinks really doesn’t matter can I drink as much as I want and then get behind the wheel? Clearly that is not the case. Most DUI drivers believe they were “not drunk” and should win their case because they did not deserve to be arrested. The fact is that you do not have to be drunk, you merely have to be under the influence, buzzed or impaired. The crucial issue if not how many drinks you consumed, but how much alcohol was in each drink …as well as the time lapse and driver’s weight.

I recently met with a 25 year old who swore he only had one drink. I told him that was impossible “with his very high” reading. He swore he was being honest. I told him then the machine must be defective and we would subpoena the maintenance records of that machine.

Then I asked him if he used a red 16 oz. Costco cup and filled it to the first cup line and topped it off with OJ. He said yes. I explained that was 12 oz. which equals 12 drinks… not one. I explained to him the law looks at the total amount of alcohol not the number of drinks. One drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 ounces of wine or 1 ounce of alcohol.

With a DUI stop the Officer orders the driver to exit the vehicle and asks them to take a Field Sobriety Test (FST). Most drivers (and lawyers) don’t know the Breath Test and the (FST) at the scene are OPTIONAL. These tests can only hurt ones case.

It is arguable that taking a Blood Test at the police station or hospital is preferable. Many believe that with the passage of time the reading will go down somewhat by the time the blood is drawn………..unless the driver just chugged a drink and the alcohol had not yet gotten into the blood system. The average driver is not aware that it takes about an hour for the alcohol to go into your blood stream and an hour to come out…………but now YOU DO!

The officer will tell the driver that he smells alcohol on their breath and ask where and how much s/he was drinking. However, “The Dose Makes the Poison”! In other words it’s the Amount of Alcohol, NOT the Number of Drinks that are Important.

The law looks at whether the driver is Driving Under the Influence, Buzzed or Impaired. The term Drunk Driving is a misnomer as one does NOT have to be drunk. IF one has a .08 reading then they are arguably DUI and the burden almost falls back upon the driver to prove s/he was not under the influence.

The driver both in and out of custody sees many advertisements for DUI & PI lawyers on TV, the yellow pages or they get letters from out of town lawyers offering to help. They don’t know what to do. Anyone can advertise they handle PI’s and DUI’s and many of these lawyers are not experienced, not local and do not know the local judges, DA’s etc.

My best advice: “If you are arrested for a possible DUI and or having been in an Accident, DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE OTHER THAN YOUR LAWYER.” SILENCE IS GOLDEN AND HANDCUFFS ARE SILVER and talking can ONLY hurt your case. The sad fact is that law enforcement officers, DA’s and Insurance Co adjusters are NOT your friends, no matter how much they tell you they are. They are just doing their job and trying to make a case based on the facts of your arrest.

“Though I am sometimes referred to as a criminal DUI defense lawyer, I choose to not view my clients as “criminals”. I prefer to view them and more importantly to treat them as good, honest people that have found themselves in a scary and unfortunate situation by drinking too much.”

I look upon my job as protecting the Constitutional Rights of every American who drinks and drives and gets arrested for a DUI.

I do however “Change Hats” when I SUE Drunk Drivers for damages to my Injured or Deceased (Wrongful Death) clients.


If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow 760 837-7500 or dale@dalegribowlaw.


“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life 2011-2016 (DUI)

“TOP LAWYER”-Inland Empire Magazine Nov, 2016

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