Special Sections » St. Patrick's Day

When the Party's Over

How to wise up in case you get stupid

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It's been a year and a half since Brian Taubman first learned how to commodify your miserable decisions. In 2010 he launched the Ohio OVI Blog — that's ohiooviblog.com — as a clearinghouse of wisdom on how to deal with getting popped for driving drunk or, better yet, avoiding getting popped in the first place.

"I started by calling 50 police stations, and I eventually became friendly with them," says the 28-year-old downtown attorney. He simply requested a list of their planned sobriety checkpoints — public information that usually isn't made very public — which he would then share with the world online. Now he's the king of Ohio checkpoints, and of doling out practical advice. He's expecting some 4,000 hits on March 17 alone.

"The idea is to help people to be aware of their rights," he says. "People need to be aware of what they can and cannot do, and nobody seems to know this."

And so, with your general ignorance in mind, we now present the basics of what you'll need to know to get your ass home in one piece this holiday weekend. Assuming you've forgotten Rule No. 1, that is: Don't drink and drive, moron.

There's a sobriety checkpoint up ahead and you're not in good shape. What to do? "If you get pulled over at a checkpoint, don't turn around," says Taubman. "They have a systematic procedure for pulling cars over." Messing with their system will not engender their goodwill.

"Always be friendly to the officer. It's the officers who will be there for your day in court, and they are the ones who will be most likely to want to help you out if you were nice to them."

What should you do if you're faced with a field sobriety test? "Everybody usually submits to it. But they don't understand that you don't have to do it. There is no punishment for refusing this test: It's your right to refuse it, if you so wish." Taubman adds that he has rarely seen anyone pass a sobriety test. Bad sign.

What about submitting to a Breathalyzer? "Once you get to the station, you've got to make an educated guess whether to blow. Most municipalities are going to look at your refusal to blow and frown upon it. Then again, if you're shitfaced and you're gonna blow a .20, you're better off not doing it." Otherwise you might blow what's known as a "super-DUI," which actually is not very super.

Any truth to the adage that minivans are invisible to police? "I'd never heard that before. I would say cops are going to pull over anyone. But you have a better chance in a minivan with a Baby on Board sign than you do driving 85 miles an hour in a Porsche."

With police departments are on so-called "saturation patrol" this weekend, with extra units patrolling all over the place, how do all those Irish cops still end up in the parade?

"I dunno. And they all drink in cop-run bars, and then they all get in cars and drive themselves away."

Any other advice for imminent partiers?

"Throughout the site, I promote: Do not drink and drive," Taubman says. "If you do get caught, call me and I will do my best to protect your rights."

Other than that?

"Don't be an asshole to cops. They're just doing their job."

— Erich Burnett

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