The holidays are meant to be a season of joy, but they can also bring tremendous pain when people make bad decisions. Drunk driving is a continuing problem during the holiday season that begins during Thanksgiving week and extends through New Year’s Day.
DUI Dangers During the Holidays
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drivers who are impaired, which is a 12% increase over the rest of the month of December. Predictably, driving during the Christmas and New Year holidays is more dangerous because more people are attending events where alcohol is served, and it’s a festive time when people tend to feel entitled to relax and have a few.
There were nearly 9,500 DUI citations in Alabama in 2015. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, approximately 30 people lose their lives in DUI-related crashes on Alabama’s roads. While the state runs ad campaigns during the holidays and increases DUI checkpoints to discourage impaired driving, DUI-related accidents and fatalities are still higher during this time of year.
How to Avoid a DUI During the Holidays
Not only are there more celebrations involving alcohol between Thanksgiving and the new year, but some areas may also be more congested due to visitors and drivers unfamiliar with the area. A combination of factors makes driving after having just one drink during this festive time of year an unsafe choice. Since we’re in the heart of the holiday season and police are more vigilant, here are several ways to avoid a DUI on Alabama’s roads during the holidays:
- Don’t drink and drive. The best way to avoid a DUI is to never drink and drive. Simply don’t get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve consumed any alcoholic beverages. The risk is just too great.
- Stay under the legal limit. If you’re still going to drive, be smart about your choices. Eat a full meal while you’re out and limit yourself to just one to two drinks over an extended period.
- Use a designated driver. A safer choice is to use a designated driver. Either ask someone in your group to refrain from drinking for the evening or make other transportation arrangements. You can call a cab or ridesharing service to get you to and from your destination safely.
- Find a place to stay nearby. If everyone in your group wants to drink and celebrate, find a place to stay that is close to your destination. If you can walk to and from your party, you won’t have to worry about potentially getting a DUI.
- Know your state’s laws. Know and understand the DUI laws in Alabama. You should not only understand your rights, but also the potential consequences for a DUI arrest and conviction.
Penalties for a DUI in Alabama
Being arrested for a DUI in Alabama can change your life in an instant. What was supposed to be a holiday celebration has transformed into a potential nightmare. Alabama law deems a person legally drunk if they have a blood alcohol level that is 0.08% or higher. Should you be a minor or work in the transportation of children, that threshold is just 0.02% and, it is 0.04% for CDL holders.
Upon arrest, there is a good chance that you will lose your driver’s license instantly. If you need a car to work or take care of your family, as most do, your attorney has just ten days to request a special hearing to halt the suspension of your driver’s license.
DUI penalties in Alabama can be swift and harsh if you are convicted. They can range from up to one year in jail, a 90-day license suspension, and $2,100 in fines for a first offense to ten years in prison, license revocation, and a $10,100 fine for a fourth offense that is elevated to felony status.
What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested for DUI in Alabama
The good news is that a DUI arrest is not the same as a DUI conviction. Arrests are terrifying and discouraging, but it’s vital that you take every means necessary to protect your rights and freedom. Attempting to handle a DUI case alone is often a mistake as these are complex legal matters.
The Alabama DUI defense attorneys at The Alsobrook Jackson Law Firm have the resources and experience on hand to passionately and skillfully defend your rights. Contact us now at (334) 737-3718 or online to discuss the ways that we can help you achieve the most favorable result possible in your DUI case.