How Can I Avoid a DUI Charge on St. Patrick’s Day?
March 8, 2022
Although St. Patrick’s Day was intended to honor a revered priest in Ireland, it has become a drinking holiday around the world.
Parades, parties, special events at bars and clubs, and pub crawls are scheduled all over the United States for St. Patrick’s Day, and often the days around it. Many drink heavily at these events; because of this, there is a spike in the number of car accidents.
About 38 percent of the drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents on St. Patrick’s Day have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.08, which is the point of legal intoxication. About 75 percent of the St. Patrick’s Day drunk drivers who lost their lives had a BAC of twice the legal intoxication point.
Because drunk driving accidents are entirely preventable, police clamp down hard on drivers around the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, conducting sobriety checkpoints and stopping errant drivers on the road.
Depending on the jurisdiction, police may ask a driver they suspect is intoxicated to take a breathalyzer test, or they may conduct what is called a field sobriety test, which involves physical tests such as walking and turning, and cognitive tests such as reciting the alphabet. They may ask for both.
When faced with sobriety tests from the police, there are drivers that will refuse to take them, believing it is the best way to avoid a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. This is not advisable. Refusal to take the test does not guarantee that you will not be charged with a DUI, and it creates a separate legal problem for the driver; under Pennsylvania law, a driver can have their license suspended for refusing a breathalyzer. Instead of avoiding one criminal charge, you would be charged with another, or possibly two charges. In these situations, seeking the help of a lawyer experienced in criminal defense can be invaluable.
Going Out to Celebrate with a Plan
The best way to avoid a DUI charge is to not get behind the wheel after drinking alcoholic beverages. There are many options available, and planning ahead can help. Here are a few tips:
- Arrange for a designated driver. This could be a friend who decided to stay sober or who does not drink, or it could be a neighbor, family member, or friend.
- Use a rideshare service. Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare applications provide you with a safe way home for a reasonable cost.
- Use mass transit. If you are familiar with mass transit to get home, this provides another way to avoid getting behind the wheel.
- Take advantage of special programs offered in your area. Some communities have trolleys that make the rounds from bars to residential areas for holidays. On St. Patrick’s Day, AAA offers the Tipsy Tow, which offers a tow and a ride home for those who have enjoyed a few drinks.
- Avoid alcohol. If you are the one committed to being a designated driver, know that the best way to avoid getting into an accident or getting a DUI charge is to completely avoid alcohol for the night. Keep an eye out for others as well. Keeping a drunk friend from getting behind the wheel might feel like a difficult confrontation, but you could very well be saving a life or several lives.
West Chester DUI Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Fight for Those Charged with Drunk Driving
A DUI conviction needs to be taken seriously. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, contact the West Chester DUI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes. Our experienced team will gather all the details of your case and fight to get the best possible outcome for you. Call us today at 610-431-7900 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our offices located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.