We’ll discuss the holidays in more detail in upcoming articles, but the reality is that October is right around the corner. With the season change comes the busiest three months on many peoples’ social calendars. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years … the final three months of the year are packed with family gatherings, social get-togethers, religious events and work parties. Unfortunately, many people fail to properly plan and can run afoul of law enforcement.
Starting in October, Colorado law enforcement has historically increased the number of DUI patrols, traffic stops and roadside sobriety checkpoints in an effort to dissuade drunk drivers during the holiday season. While this might work as a deterrent, these efforts also result in a dramatic increase in the number of tickets given out and arrests made.
What can party-goers do to protect themselves?
Benjamin Franklin famously said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This axiom is as true during the holiday season as it is through the rest of the year. Perhaps more so. By thinking ahead, individuals can secure a safe ride and avoid the costly criminal penalties of a DUI conviction.
- Designated driver: It might be wise to consider a designated driver schedule, or rotation, among friends or co-workers. At the start of the holiday season, it is easier to plan for one person to remain the DD for the Thanksgiving party and another person to accept that responsibility for the Christmas party.
- Taxis or ridesharing: At the start of the holiday season, many people will create accounts to various taxi or ridesharing services – going so far as to use a chosen service well in advance of the party to see how it works. These services are generally quite responsive and certainly cheaper than the penalties one might face if charged with DUI, DWAI or DUID.
- Overnight stay: While it might be a more expensive option, many people consider finding a nearby hotel, motel or travel lodge to stay the night after a party. Rather than drive for an hour to get home after a party, planning ahead and making a room reservation can remove the stress and possibility of a DUI.
- Public transportation: From buses to trains to light-rails, many cities offer public transportation with altered holiday schedules. Make it a habit to review the online schedule to see if it matches up with your holiday-party needs.
In fact, for smaller, personal gatherings of friends or family, many individuals will plan to have the party at his or her house and simply have everyone stay the night to sleep off the effects of the alcohol.
A DUI charge can result in devastating penalties such as fines, jail time, increased insurance premiums or the loss of driving privileges.