The holiday season is officially upon us. More time with family, more travel, and usually, more alcohol. While it’s great to celebrate over the holidays, some people find themselves in legal trouble after an unexpected DUI. Let’s discuss how to get through Thanksgiving weekend without a DUI charge.
Thanksgiving DUI Information
The Thanksgiving holiday accounts for a significant number of DUI accidents and arrests. This is in large part due to Blackout Wednesday. If you’ve never heard of Blackout Wednesday, it is another name for Thanksgiving Eve. Many people participate in binge drinking with friends on this night before feasting with family the next day. In fact, beer and hard liquor sales increase by over 100% on this night. The bar scene is always crowded, and law enforcement increases their patrols to catch drunk drivers. This is a relatively new tradition, only starting around 2012. Still, it has accounted for hundreds of alcohol-impaired accidents.
- Over the past 5 years, over 800 people have died in DUI accidents over Thanksgiving weekend.
- Over ⅓ of all Thanksgiving traffic fatalities involve impaired drivers.
- The average American increases their drinking by 100% between Thanksgiving and New Years.
Penalties for DUI
Not only is driving under the influence a risk to your safety and the safety of others, it also puts you at risk of severe criminal penalties.
In Wisconsin, a first offense DUI is punishable by:
- A fine of up to $300
- License revocation for up to 9 months
- Mandatory IID
- Alcohol assessment, followed by treatment classes
Typically, there is no jail time for a first offense. However, if you were involved in a DUI accident that led to injury, you may spend time incarcerated.
Staying Safe over Thanksgiving Weekend
If you’re drinking this holiday weekend, make sure you’re also planning for how to travel safely.
Have A Designated Driver
If you and your friends are going out for Blackout Wednesday, see if anyone will volunteer to be the designated driver. If no one wants to, consider being the designated driver yourself.
You can still have plenty of fun at the bar with your friends and save yourself the hangover.
Utilize Rideshare Apps
If you’re riding with friends, it makes this option even more affordable. Download Uber or Lyft on your phone prior to going out so it’s easy to navigate and call a ride once you’re ready to leave the bar.
If the price deters you, remember that a DUI conviction is far more expensive.
Celebrate at Home
If you don’t have a safe way to get to and from the bar, consider celebrating at home. Invite your friends over for a Blackout Wednesday house party. Open up your house for overnight guests to ensure your friends are also safe after drinking.
If wine is flowing at your Thanksgiving Day celebration, remember to pace yourself if you need to drive home that night. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation when it’s time to go.
If You’re Stopped By Police…
Law enforcement expects an uptick in DUI over the holidays. Because of this, they stop more drivers than usual. If you are stopped for suspected DUI, here are some things to keep in mind when speaking with the police.
- Stay Silent: Use your right to remain silent. All you are required to do is provide your identification, registration, and possibly proof of insurance. You do not need to answer any questions about drinking or where you are coming from.
- Don’t Consent to a Search: In most cases, you do not have to consent to a warrantless search. Once you consent, almost anything the police find in your car can be used against you.
- Don’t Participate in Field Sobriety Tests: These tests are always voluntary; you don’t face additional penalties for refusing. We recommend always refusing to take these discretionary tests.
Wisconsin’s Most Successful DUI Defense Firm
If you’re charged with DUI this Thanksgiving, contact our firm Melowski & Singh, LLC. Our experience and knowledge has gained us significant respect in the field of DUI defense, and we truly fight for the best possible outcome for our clients. To learn more about us and share about your case, schedule a case consultation here.