“Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” is a Lie; False Advertising

By Garth O'Brien | November 7, 2009 
Filed Under Seattle DUI

seattle-dui-attorneyLaw enforcement agencies in the State of Washington adopted, “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” as a DUI ad campaign slogan. In part this is a lie. “Drive hammered, get nailed” sends an improper message to the citizenry of Washington State. Washington State does not enforce a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) criminal law. Washington enforces a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) criminal law. The former sends a message that the driver must be drunk, intoxicated or “hammered.” The latter only requires a driver to be impaired meaning they are affected by an appreciable degree due to their consumption of intoxicants.

It may be a fine line, but the general public would agree there is a difference between being “buzzed” and being intoxicated, drunk or hammered. Below are the results of a Google search of “define:intoxication”:

Definitions of intoxication on the Web:

Poisoning: the physiological state produced by a poison or other toxic substance

Drunkenness: a temporary state resulting from excessive consumption of alcohol

Excitement and elation beyond the bounds of sobriety; “the intoxication of wealth and power”

Drunkenness, in its most common usage, is the state of being intoxicated with alcohol (i.e. ethanol) to a sufficient degree to impair mental and motor functioning.

The state of being under the influence of a substance. (1,2,3,4)
Odyssey Center

The condition of being drunk. An abnormal state that is essentially alcohol poisoning. It is characterized by slurred speech and a loss of coordination.
Science Education

Literally, a state of being poisoned or drugged; a condition produced by use (abuse) of toxic drugs, alcohol, barbiturates, and so forth.
Addiction Rehabilitation Glossary

Being under the influence of, and responding to, the acute effects of a psychoactive drug. Intoxication typically includes feelings of pleasure, altered emotional responsiveness, altered perception, and impaired judgment and performance.
Addiction Studies Glossary

Poisoning. A state of being tainted with toxins, particularly those produced by microorganisms that have infected food.
Gluten Feeda Glossary

A criminal defense that generally requires that the intoxication be involuntary.
IEJS Glossary

One of the several terms used to describe the degradation of driving ability and other faculties due to ingestion of alcohol or other drugs. The term usually connotes very easily observable and severe effects of alcohol, and often is used inter-changeably with the word “drunk.” However, “intoxication” sometimes has a quasi-legal connotation as well and may be linked with a specific level of BAC.

A term linked with a specific level of BAC, usually connotating observable and severe effects of alcohol.

Baked, blasted, blazed, blitzed, buzzed, chinky eyed (may be offensive), faded, fucked up, gone, high, keyed, lit, lifted, mashed, monged (UK), mullered (UK), ripped, smashed, spaced, spaced out, stoned, throwed, toasted, wasted, zonked, zooted

There is a mixture of results from impaired to drunk. There is further support indicating there is a difference between drunk and impaired. Below is the chart comprised of information from trusted sources such as, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the American Medical Association, the National Commission Against Drunk Driving, and WebMD. Washington State’s legal limit is 0.08.

The typical indicators of an individual that is drunk, intoxicated or hammered are found in the 0.10 and above range. However, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle at just 0.08. If you are driving buzzed in the State of Washington, chances are you are in violation of the DUI criminal statute.

Drive hammered, get nailed is a lie. Do not trust this ad campaign. You will be arrested for DUI by operating a motor vehicle before you become hammered. I formally prosecuted and defended individuals charged with DUI. Some of these individuals were arrested and criminally charged for DUI with BAC levels of only 0.03. “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” is a lie. Do not rely upon this government sponsored advertisement.

It is offensive Washington State Law Enforcement agencies support this advertising slogan, and it is abhorrent Washington State taxes pay for this deceptive campaign. It begs the question: Is our government really interested in preventing DUI? A DUI generates massive revenue for many interested parties. An individual convicted of DUI will on average pay $20,000.00 from the time of their arrest until the termination of probation. There are 47,000 DUI arrests annually in the State of Washington. That equates to high revenues.

If our government really was interested in preventing DUI and the death and destruction it causes our government would require Ignition Interlock Devices as standard equipment for every vehicle operated on the roadways across the entire United States.

DUI Blog Comments

7 Responses to ““Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” is a Lie; False Advertising”

  1. ex-Hollywood Liberal on November 7th, 2009 8:38 am

    Some may think you’re nit-picking, but I think your analysis is correct – particularly your suggestion that “the government” isn’t interested in preventing DUI.

    When I first worked the LAPD DUI Task Forces, it wasn’t hard to arrest three or four .08+ DUIs each night. My personal record for drunk driving arrests (with a partner) was EIGHT DUIs – without overtime – yup, one per hour.

    Because officers were arresting so many drunk drivers, the courts and prosecutors were buried by the deluge of arrests. To prevent that from happening, they created redundant forms, processes, and reports that quadrupled the paperwork necessary to process DUIs. So officers who used two- or three-page reports a few years ago now have ten pages or more.

    DUI reports are simple – there’s the basic story: “I observed the driver on a public street in the city of Los Angeles weaving and run a red light. I conducted a traffic stop and observed various symptoms of intoxication. I arrested the defendant and advised this of his chemical rights and he chose a breath test – he blew a .10/.10 BAC. The watch commander advised booking and I booked him at Van Nuys Jail. Done – over – quick and simple.

    The courts and prosecutors pretend that they need the extra paperwork to accurately process arrestees and to make sure that someone’s rights haven’t been violated. But that didn’t start until cops started burying the courts and prosecutors. And since those guys don’t like explaining to the public why solid criminal cases are being dismissed, they make it harder for cops to arrest people.

    One last thing – the goofiest form is the “probable cause affidavit.” This HANDWRITTEN form requires cops to repeat all of the elements of the crime (that’s contained already in the report), and affirms to the judge that the arresting officer was being truthful when he wrote the report (as if it wasn’t already implied by the officer’s employment). And if any of the tees aren’t crossed or the Is aren’t dotted, prosecutors or the courts will use that as a pretext for dismissal – and cops are blamed for writing sloppy reports. Gosh – the bad guy again. Big surprise…

    Best wishes,

    Clark Baker
    LAPD, retired

    You know, Chief Bratton wants to hire more cops. But if he really wanted to have effective use of the ones he already has, he’d pressure the courts and prosecutors to get rid of the dumb redundancies… so that good cops can spend more time on the streets and less time wasted on ridiculous reports. And if tomorrow officers suddenly developed a technology that permitted DUI’s to be processed efficiently, prosecutors and courts would create another layer of paperwork and require it to be handwritten.

    And while it may be partially true that DUI arrests are down from a decade or more because of driver education and penalties, the larger reason is that prosecutors, judges, and politicians have made it much harder for officers to arrest more than one or two drunk drivers a night. And that leaves cops doing long reports in the station, and more drunks out there on the road with you.

  2. Tom Humes on November 7th, 2009 8:58 am

    Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  3. lina@happy family on November 17th, 2009 7:35 pm

    Garth, I’m an Indonesian, I’ve just heard about this false advertising…

  4. JoAnn Hellmann, Director of IDIPIC on November 22nd, 2009 12:07 pm

    It’s a catchy phrase but absolutely inaccurate. And it may cause people to think “hey I’m not HAMMERED,
    so I’m OK to drive.” We can probably refer to some of those folks now as injured, dead or incarcerated.

    Ditto the phrase “Over the limit. Under Arrest.”

    JoAnn Hellmann
    Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County

  5. payday advance service on December 5th, 2009 4:40 pm

    I don’t really think that there should be a distinction. If you are driving and you have been drinking, you should be arrested. I understand that the state of Washington may not have picked the best slogan, but is that really the issue?

  6. Massachusetts DUI Attorney on December 7th, 2009 9:18 pm

    You hit the nail right on the head! There are misconceptions on both sides of this issue. On one hand, some believe that a person has to be falling down drunk in order to be convicted of driving under the influence. Others believe that anyone who has any appreciable alcohol in his or her system while driving is committing a crime. As you know, neither view is accurate. Most states’ DUI laws require that the defendant be intoxicated to the point where alcohol reduces or diminishes the defendant’s ability to drive safely. Consequently, a driver need not be “hammered” to get nailed. The predecessor to this program was entitled “over the limit, under arrest.” At least that catchphrase was accurate.

    Brian E. Simoneau
    Mass. DUI Lawyer

  7. DUI Lawyer on December 13th, 2009 11:48 pm

    Whatever the slogan they might post ahead of you, always remember that it is not safe to drink and drive. Although we, the DUI lawyers are here to help you just by chance you are arrested, you must still bear in mind that the essence of this DUI is not to catch and arrest people who are deadly drunk, drunk, or just tipsy while they drive. DUI LAw is made to prevent unsafe driving.