From the office Christmas party to the neighborhood New Year’s Eve bash, the holiday season presents many opportunities for drinking and socializing. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of increased auto accidents due to more people drinking and driving. While the 4th of July ranks highest for alcohol-related injuries and fatalities, Christmas and New Year’s aren’t too far down the list, and then of course we have Mardi Gras.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 25,000 alcohol-related car crashes and 1,200 deaths occur annually from December 25 to January 1. Further, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that 52 percent of fatal accidents on Christmas Day and 57 percent of fatal accidents on New Year’s Day happen because due to impaired driving.
Tips for Protecting Yourself from a Drunk Driver
You do your best to drive safely and would like to assume that everyone else on the road does the same thing. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. While you can’t control the actions of other drivers, you can take some precautions to reduce the likelihood of a serious accident during the holidays. This starts by never drinking and driving yourself and stepping in to call a cab for a friend who has had too much to drink.
People drive while impaired at all hours of the day, but statistics show that more drunk driving accidents occur between midnight and 2:30 a.m. This makes sense when you consider that bars start closing during these hours and party-goers are on their way home as well. At Darley Law in Mobile, Alabama, we recommend staying off the road during these hours if possible. Additionally, carry a cell phone with you while driving so you can pull over and call 9-1-1 if you spot someone driving erratically. You should also call 9-1-1 immediately if another strikes you and you’re not too injured to make the call.
What to Do if You’re Arrested for Drunk Driving
People who get into accidents with drunk drivers aren’t the only possible victims during the holiday season. Since the police expect higher numbers of impaired drivers on the road, they can become overzealous in stopping people and don’t always have a legitimate cause. If you feel that a police officer has unjustly pulled you over and forced you to take a sobriety test, it’s in your best interest to cooperate. It will only escalate the situation further if you refuse.
However, you do have the right to contact an attorney at Darley Law. We will ensure that you understand your rights if the police arrest you for driving while under the influence (DUI). This includes explaining the charges against you, determining if you have any legal defense, and deciding if the police committed any illegal actions during your arrest such as not reading the Miranda warning.
Alabama Takes Drunk Driving Seriously
Driving while impaired is a serious offense and the state treats it as such, even when it’s your first offense. You will lose your driver’s license for at least 90 days, spend up to one year in jail, pay a fine of up to $2,000, and attend mandatory DUI classes. The penalties are more severe for second and subsequent DUI charges. You can expect significant jail time, fines, and a loss of your driving privileges for a year or longer.
Additionally, you may need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle if your DUI conviction meets certain categories. Two of the most common ones include driving with a child in the car or having a blood alcohol level above .15 for your first arrest. As you can see, a charge of drunk driving is nothing to take lightly. You need an experienced DUI attorney like Jason Darley to assist you in challenging the charges or possibly reducing your penalties.
As a criminal defense attorney in private practice, Jason Darley has several years of experience working with people charged with DUI in Mobile and the surrounding communities. Christmas and New Year’s are no time to spend in jail away from your loved ones. Please contact Darley Law at 251-441-7772 as soon after your arrest as possible to schedule a free legal consultation.