The holiday season brings with it lots of parties and good cheer. As a result, Pennsylvanians might find themselves drinking a little bit more than they normally do.
Excess drinking poses dangers well beyond embarrassing yourself at the company party. If you get behind the wheel, you run the risk of facing a Pennsylvania drunk driving charge. Even worse, you could cause an accident that injures yourself or others.
The likelihood of being arrested for drunk driving is higher during the holidays. In an attempt to keep drunk drivers off the road, Pennsylvania law enforcement will be implementing sobriety checkpoints and increasing its usual traffic safety patrols. The checkpoints will be in place from mid-November until early January.
The increased enforcement is intended to reduce the risk of accident during what is traditionally the most dangerous driving season. Last year, there were 4,380 crashes and 55 deaths during Thanksgiving week. Over Christmas and New Year's, there were an additional 2,035 crashes and 19 fatalities. Although not all of these crashes were alcohol-related, drunk driving certainly does lead to increased risk of accident.
Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Penalties
The only guaranteed way to avoid a drunk driving charge is to not get behind the wheel when you are impaired. If you're going to drink, figure out a ride home before the party starts. If you don't have a designated driver, plan to either get a cab or stay overnight. These options may seem expensive at first, but are much cheaper than a DUI.
Even a first DUI offense can be very expensive. A first DUI with a blood alcohol content of between 0.08 and 0.099 can result in a $300 fine and up to six months probation. If the driver's blood alcohol content is over 0.10, a first offense can bring up to six months imprisonment, a $5,000 fine and license suspension.
Pennsylvania DUI penalties are serious business. Even if a drunk driver doesn't cause an accident, the consequences of a DUI charge can be life-altering.
If you are charged with DUI this holiday season, don't take risks with your future. Contact an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney who can help you understand your options and protect your rights.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, "PennDOT, Police Partner to Keep Holiday Season Travel Safe," Nov. 17, 2011.