December 30, 2019
Don’t Start the New Year Under Arrest: DUI Charges Rise During Holidays
A champagne toast. A round of shots. A few beers. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a lot, but as your New Year’s Eve party continues into the early hours of the morning, your blood alcohol level rises.
You may think you’re fine. You can think clearly, so why not drive home. Until your inhibitions are distorted and that green light turns red way too soon, resulting in a collision.
A breathalyzer reveals that you’re past the legal limit. Instead of waking up in your bed on January 1st, you’ll be celebrating the new year behind bars.
Know the facts.
- New Year’s Eve is considered the most dangerous holiday for drunk driving accidents.
- According to an ABC News report in December 2018, “between Christmas and New Year’s, 40% of deadly crashes involve drunk drivers, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.”
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that during the Christmas holiday, an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurred each day, and soared to 54 per day over New Year’s.
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranked New Year’s Eve 7th, with 130 average fatalities, on the list of deadliest days.
Know what’s at stake when you get a DUI.
There are consequences to a DUI charge. In Pennsylvania, the charges are ranked by the number and frequencies of offenses.
- First Offense: Fine between $300 to $5,000, and potentially up to 6 months of probation. A prison sentence and a license suspension of up to 12 months are also possible.
- Second Offense: On the second offense, you may spend 5 days to 6 months in prison; be issued a $300 to $2,500 fine; facer a 1-year suspension of your driver’s license; and must install an Ignition interlock device.
- Third Offense: The punishment increases. You may face 10 days to 2 years in prison; are responsible for a $500 to $5,000 fine; have a 1-year suspension of your driver’s license, and must install an Ignition interlock device.
Remember, if you are employed by a school, there are even more consequences if you are charged with a DUI.
Know there are other options so you can avoid a DUI.
Drunk driving does not have to be your option to get home. You can assign a designated driver for the evening to ensure your group has one accountable person to operate a vehicle.
You may also want to use a shared-ride program like Uber or Lyft or even public transportation.
There is no need to put yourself or others at risk this New Year. But, if you are charged with a DUI, know that there is a firm that has your best interests at heart.