The holidays are a festive season that we love to enjoy with our family and friends. For most of us, this is a favorite time of the year when we look forward to time off from work and more time celebrating with those closest to us. Many of the parties and gatherings we attend involve alcohol, and sadly, this causes an increase in drunk driving and DUI-related accidents during this time of year.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports some sobering statistics regarding DUI and the holidays. From 2012 through 2016 (the last five years on record), just under 4,000 individuals were killed in crashes that involved drunk driving in the month of December. This accounts for 28% of auto accident fatalities during the last month of the year. Just in the week of Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve alone, an average of over 300 individuals per year are killed in DUI-related crashes.
Alabama police are well-aware of the spike in drunk driving during the holidays, and you can expect beefed up enforcement in all 67 counties throughout the state during the month of December and into New Year’s. There will be more officers patrolling the streets, and an increase in DUI checkpoints to try and keep the situation under control.
If you are arrested for drunk driving in Alabama, the consequences can be very harsh. Penalties for DUI in the Yellowhammer State just for a first-offense may include:
- Fines of up to $2100 plus court costs;
- Up to one year in county jail or mandatory probation;
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 90 days or the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID);
- Mandatory substance abuse evaluation and treatment.
Penalties may be enhanced if there are aggravated circumstances such as a second or subsequent DUI, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, child endangerment, and DUIs involving serious injury or death.
A DUI conviction can cost you in several other ways as well. For example, having a drunk driving conviction on your criminal record can make it more difficult to obtain housing, loans, employment, and admission to college. And if your job requires a professional license, you may have difficulty obtaining the license or getting it renewed.
Staying Safe and Avoiding a DUI During the Holidays
With Alabama law enforcement on high alert this time of year, there is no sense putting yourself or others at risk by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated during the holiday season. Here are four tips to help you stay safe at your holiday gatherings:
1. Bring a Designated Driver
If possible, bring someone along who is going to stay sober for the evening. Even if they don’t drive you there, they can always drive your car home if necessary. If you can’t find a designated driver to come along with you, try to at least have someone available to call for a ride home when the evening is over.
2. Use a Cab or Rideshare Service
If there is no one among your group of friends that is sober and able to drive you home, plan to take a cab or Uber. Have the phone number to a cab company, or have your information prepopulated in the ridesharing app on your phone to make it easier to contact them when you’re ready to go.
3. Plan to Stay at a Hotel/Motel or a Friend’s House
One of the best ways to avoid a DUI during the holidays is to book a room at a hotel or motel near the party, or plan to stay at a friend’s place that is nearby. This way, you can go to the party without any worries about how you will get home.
4. Stick to the Plan
Planning ahead for your holiday party is great, but the plan can only work if you commit to sticking to it. Sometimes after people drink too much, they exercise poor judgment and deviate from the plan. For example, you might think, “I’m only a couple blocks from home, so I’m okay to drive.” Do NOT fall into this trap.Decide ahead of time that you will not drive drunk under any circumstances, and if needed, have someone else along who you can count on to hold you accountable.
Pulled Over for Drunk Driving? Contact an Alabama DUI Attorney
Maybe you already made the mistake of getting behind the wheel drunk and got arrested for DUI. If so, you need strong legal counsel in your corner to help mitigate the circumstances as much as possible. At Alsobrook Jackson, Attorneys at Law, we have an in-depth understanding of Alabama DUI laws, and we know the most effective defense strategies to minimize the negative consequences of a drunk driving arrest. For a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys, call our office today at 334-737-3718, or send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.