The holiday season is upon us, and this a time for joy and celebration. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, we have several opportunities to spend time and make special memories with our family and friends. During these celebrations, alcohol is often involved. Unfortunately, this causes more people to get behind the wheel while intoxicated at this time of year, resulting in far too many holiday drunk driving accidents.
Every holiday season, hundreds of individuals are killed because of drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 4,000 people were killed in DUI crashes in the past five years during the month of December. And during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, approximately 300 people die each year in alcohol-related crashes.
Connecticut law enforcement is well aware of the increased likelihood of drunk driving during the holidays, and they have taken steps in recent years to crack down. This holiday season, you can expect:
- A higher number of police officers patrolling the streets, especially on nights such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (commonly known as “Blackout Wednesday), Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve;
- An increased number of DUI checkpoints;
- Expedited field sobriety test (FST) procedures.
The penalties for DUI in Connecticut are harsh, even if this is your first time. First-time DUI offenders can face fines of up to $1,000, an automatic 45-day driver’s license suspension, two days up to six months in the county jail, probation with 100 hours of community service, and the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year (at your expense).
If this is your second DUI offense, the penalties are even worse. In addition to an automatic driver’s license suspension, you could be looking at up to $4,000 in fines, up to two years in prison, and an ignition interlock device in your car for three years. For a third offense, fines are higher, jail time is longer, and your driving privileges could be permanently revoked.
Aside from the direct penalties, there are other consequences for drunk driving convictions that could adversely impact your life in numerous ways. For example, if you are convicted for DUI, you may find it harder to apply for housing, obtain employment, qualify for a scholarship to college, or obtain/renew a professional license. A DUI may even impact your child custody case.
DUI and the Holidays: Be Prepared and Stay Safe this Year
With so much on the line, it’s just not worth it to get behind the wheel after you’ve had too much to drink. Here are some ways to ensure that you (and your loved ones) can stay safe and avoid a DUI arrest this holiday season:
- Bring a Designated Driver: You have probably heard it 1,000 times before, but it bears repeating. If you go out with friends and you plan to drink, bring someone along to be your designated driver. If no one in your group wants to commit to staying sober, then at least have someone you can call for a ride if things get out of hand.
- Bring Money for a Cab or Uber: If no one you are out with is sober and there’s nobody you can call for a ride, bring money along to get a cab or Uber. Don’t worry about leaving your car where it’s parked, you can always go back and get it in the morning.
- Book a Hotel or Motel Close to the Party: Another way to avoid a DUI is to stay somewhere close to the party, so you don’t have to drive anywhere. If you can find a reasonably priced hotel or motel close by, this might be a good option.
Arrested for DUI? Contact an Experienced Attorney Right Away
Maybe you have already slipped up and gotten behind the wheel with too much to drink. If this has happened and you were arrested for drunk driving, you need skilled legal representation in your corner to ensure that your rights are protected, and that the situation can be mitigated as much as possible.
At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, we understand that good people make mistakes, and we are aggressive advocates on behalf of each client we serve. We have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the Connecticut DUI laws, and we know the most effective defense strategies to minimize the negative consequences. For a personalized consultation with one of our seasoned Connecticut DUI attorneys, call us at (860) 900-0900 or visit our Hartford County office in person. You may also send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.