Holiday DUIs & Tips to Best Prevent a Criminal Charge
In 2018, 285 people lost their lives in DUI-related crashes during the Christmas and New Year’s periods, and a total of 10,511 people were killed nationwide in DUI-related crashes that same year. Between 2012 and 2017, an average of 300 people died in DUI crashes during Christmas and New Year’s, while 781 people died in DUI crashes in December 2016 alone. In addition, California had 1,069 fatal DUI-related crashes in 2018, accounting for 10% of the nation’s total DUI fatalities.
With these facts in mind, it is not surprising that law enforcement officers are extremely vigilant for intoxicated drivers, especially during the holidays. Although COVID-19 may affect people’s holiday travel plans this year, countless people will certainly celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with booze. Considering the fact that excessive alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic, it is inevitable that many people will drink before getting behind the wheel during this time of year.
Other reasons DUI charges may increase include:
- Work parties
- Family gatherings
- Increased police patrols
- Higher rates of travel on the roads
- Long weekends/days off work
- Increased stress
As such, DUI rates may increase, especially with stay-at-home orders in place. With nowhere to go, many Californians will celebrate the holidays indoors and enjoy their long weekends as expected: Drinking wine, beer, cocktails, and the like with their friends and family. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of your actions and drinking habits during the holidays, as you do not want to end a happy celebration with a DUI charge.
Thus, our Dublin DUI lawyer is here to discuss 7 tips to best avoid a DUI accusation this holiday season:
- Plan ahead: Ask a friend or family member to be your designated driver, or “DD,” to ensure you have a safe ride home. Even if you don’t intend to drink initially, plans may change, therefore it’s in your best interests to designate a sober driver who you can rely on.
- Stay overnight or book a hotel: If you can’t secure a DD or your DD ends up drinking, consider spending the night at the host’s home or book a hotel or motel instead.
- Drive defensively: Let’s say you are completely sober and driving home from your holiday party. While you may be driving safely, you can’t trust that other drivers will, too. Intoxicated drivers are on the roads more than you may assume, particularly during the holidays, which is why we advise you to drive defensively. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Don’t drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol: Even if you only had one or two drinks during the whole party, do not drive. Many people make the mistake of thinking they’re “sober enough” to drive because they only had a “little bit” to drink. The reality is, however, that consuming any amount of alcohol is too much if you plan on driving afterward. The same advice holds true for drugs. Putting any amount of any substance may increase your chances of getting a DUI charge, therefore you should avoid doing drugs or drinking alcohol before driving at all costs.
- Use rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft or cab services: People use rideshare services after drinking for a reason, and you should take advantage of these services if you don’t have a safe ride home. Some companies like AAA may offer free rides during the holidays depending on where you live.
- Do not mix alcohol with medications: While prescription drugs are perfectly fine to use if they were specifically prescribed to you and are taken as directed, consuming alcohol with such drugs in your system can be a recipe for disaster. Many prescriptions contain clear warning labels stating to avoid drinking alcohol while using the drugs, and even if some do not, you should not mix alcohol or drugs with your prescription medications, or any medications for that matter.
- Do not “sleep it off” in your car: Countless people believe that sleeping in their cars after a night of drinking is a safe choice. However, if a police officer pulls up, they could actually get a DUI charge. Why? If an officer determines through circumstantial evidence (i.e. warm engine, running car, keys in your lap, etc.) that you may have been driving under the influence, they may arrest you for DUI. As such, avoid sleeping or napping in your car to allow the alcohol to wear off, as your good intentions may have bad outcomes.
If you are facing DUI charges in Dublin, contact us at (925) 259-3337 to learn about your legal defense options. We understand that even if you following the tips above, you may end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is why you can count on us to defend your future and freedom no matter what accusations you are facing.