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Getting through Happy Hour with your law license intact

Attorneys here in California and across the country could find themselves facing disciplinary action or an inquiry from the state bar for a variety of reasons. One reason that tends to come up more often than many attorneys would rather not admit to involve alcohol-related incidents.

Whether it has to do with DUIs or addictions, alcohol tends to be a part of the legal atmosphere. Team building happy hours, holiday parties and business lunches tend to involve alcohol. You may not want to drink, but you don't want to insult the partners or your co-workers either. It may be possible to fit in and remain sober at the same time.

If you feel pressure to drink

If you do drink, but want to make sure you don't get drunk and then drive, you could have a drink and then switch to some form of non-alcoholic beverage. Soda water, soft drinks or juices work well since mixed drinks usually involve these non-alcoholic counterparts.

You could also request a non-alcoholic beer, which gives you the taste without much risk of getting drunk, but be careful, some may have trace amounts of alcohol in them. If you ask for it in a glass, no one will be the wiser. Bartenders can make just about any mixed drink without the alcohol. For instance, if you are a Bloody Mary fan, you could still have one, just without the vodka.

If people know you don't drink

If people know that you don't drink, but you still want to participate, you could enjoy several beverages with interesting names. Who knows, you could start a trend of people drinking Roy Rogers, Shirley Temples and Arnold Palmers, among others. Ask your bartender if he or she does any specialty drinks that don't contain alcohol. Depending on where you are, you may also have the opportunity to try some craft sodas.

The point is that you shouldn't feel pressured to drink alcoholic beverages if you don't want to. You can still participate and make sure that you get home safely and without a police officer stopping and arresting you for DUI, which could put your legal license at risk.

If you make a mistake

If you failed to consider the alternatives mentioned in this article and did end up getting arrested for DUI, it may be worth your while to discuss the matter with an attorney with experience in defending attorneys before the state bar. It's better to understand what you may be up against, if anything, depending on the outcome of the criminal proceedings. Disciplinary actions are different from the courtroom proceedings and attempting to go it alone could cost you.

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Law Office of Zachary D. Wechsler

21515 Hawthorne Blvd., #610
Torrance, CA 90503

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