Avoiding DUI Dangers During the Holidays
The holiday season is a time for friends and family to celebrate the most wonderful time of year, but there is a downside. DUI incidents are common during the holidays because parties and family gatherings often involve alcohol. Not to mention, many working Americans get time off during the holidays, therefore it is not surprising that they take advantage of their time off by enjoying more than a few drinks.
As a result, the rates of DUI often increase during the holiday season. Let’s take a look at some key data on holiday DUI rates in the US:
- Between 2012 and 2017, an average of 300 people died in DUI-related crashes between Christmas and New Year’s
- In 2016, 781 people died in DUI-related crashes in December alone
- During the Christmas and New Year’s periods in 2018, 285 people died in DUI-related accidents
- Nationwide, 10,511 people died in DUI-related crashes in 2018
With these facts in mind, holiday festivities and family reunions can transition from merry to scary upon a DUI charge. Law enforcement agencies typically send out more police patrols during the holidays and establish more DUI checkpoints because they know what the holiday season implies: Drinking, partying, traveling, and driving under the influence.
So, how can you best prevent getting a DUI charge during the holidays?
While it’s easy to tell people to avoid drinking altogether, it’s not realistic. That is why our attorney describes seven tips to help you better avoid getting accused of DUI:
- Designate a sober driver: Ask a friend or family member to be your designated driver, or “DD,” to ensure you have a safe ride home. Ensure your DD is responsible and reliable, as the last thing you want is to ride home with a buzzed driver. Even if you plan on staying sober throughout the entire party, plans may change, so prepare accordingly by designating a sober driver.
- Stay overnight or book a hotel: If plans change and your DD ends up drinking, you have back-up options. Consider spending the night at the party host’s house or stay at a hotel rather than taking the risk of driving.
- Drive defensively: In the event that you don’t consume any alcohol at the party, there is a high chance that other Floridians have. As such, when you are driving home, you may be exposed to several intoxicated drivers on the road and must be aware of your surroundings as a result. You must exercise extreme caution during the holidays because other drivers around you may be under the influence and thus, put you in danger. By driving defensively, you essentially assume and prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
- Don’t drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol: Unfortunately, far too many people believe that drinking one or two alcoholic beverages won’t affect them. The reality is consuming any amount of alcohol, even one beer, and driving afterward could increase your chances of getting a DUI.
- Use rideshare or cab services: Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft exist for a reason. If you drink at a party, you don’t have to worry about how you will get home safely because you have several reliable transportation options. Rideshare and cab services are widespread in Orlando, so be sure to utilize them rather than driving under the influence. Keep in mind that companies like AAA offer free rides home depending on where you live, so be sure to take advantage should that offer be available to you.
- Do not mix alcohol with medications: Although it is legal to take medications that were specifically prescribed to you, mixing them with alcohol can have detrimental effects. Many prescriptions contain warning labels that advise patients to avoid consuming alcohol while taking such medications, but not everyone follows the rules. Even if you only had one beer the entire night, the result of mixing alcohol with your medications include impaired judgment, poor coordination, mood swings, drowsiness, dizziness, and more.
- Do not sleep in your car: Contrary to popular belief, “sleeping it off” in your car is still illegal if your BAC is .08 or above. This is because Florida DUI statutes prohibit people from being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while intoxicated. “Actual physical control” has many interpretations, the most common being that if a person can put a vehicle in motion, then they are in actual physical control. Thus, if your car keys were in the ignition, on the passenger seat, or in your pocket and your BAC was .08 or above, you could get a DUI charge.
When Your Freedom Is at Stake, Call Us Today
We understand that you may get accused of DUI even if you followed the tips above. Despite doing all the right steps to better avoid a DUI, police officers may perceive certain actions as indicators of intoxication. For instance, if you are 100% sober while driving home but weave out of your lane by accident, police officers may assume that you are one of the many intoxicated drivers on the roads during the holidays. As a result, you may get arrested for DUI.
Whatever your situation is, don’t hesitate to reach out to us online or at (407) 988-0992. We look forward to defending your case.