DUI and the Holidays

DUI and the Holidays

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.

DUI in Auburn AL

DUI and the Holidays

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.