Written by Timothy Czekaj
The chill in the air means the holidays are almost here. For many Pennsylvanians, this is a time to enjoy travel, family gatherings, gift shopping, big meals, and office parties. But leaving the office get-together or holiday meal with one too many drinks in your system can put an immediate stop to all the fun.
Nothing ruins the holidays faster than being stopped at a roadblock or seeing flashing lights in your rearview mirror and getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid a DUI in Pennsylvania over the holidays. To get help with your DUI, call the (717) 275-9770.
How to Avoid a DUI Over the Holidays
Nearly 50,000 people were arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania in 2018, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Here are some ways to avoid becoming one of the thousands who will be arrested this year.
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol that would impair your ability to safely drive, and you are presumed to be impaired if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher.
That is why it is important to drink responsibly to avoid a DUI over the holidays. While any gathering that involves alcohol can make your drive home risky, office work parties are particularly common causes of intoxicated driving. Coworkers often get together to relax and celebrate the upcoming holiday break, and in an effort to enjoy themselves, they drink too much to drive safely.
Here are some tips for drinking responsibly at holiday parties:
- Do not drink on an empty stomach.
- If you are making your own mixed drinks, consider using half the liquor you normally would.
- Stop drinking an hour and a half to two hours before you plan to leave the party.
Whether you are sitting around a fire with your family or letting loose at the office Christmas party, pace yourself. And if you think you might have had too much to drink to drive safely, it is best to find another way to get home.
Find a Way to Get Home Safely
Hoping to catch intoxicated drivers leaving bars and parties, Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies often set up roadblocks around the holidays. Meanwhile, patrols are often ramped up on holiday evenings when people are more likely to be drinking. That means those who have had too much to drink before driving are much more likely to be caught this time of year.
Fortunately, you do not have to face this risk and put your safety on the line by driving when you have had too much to drink. You can plan ahead to get home safely and avoid a DUI.
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft offer a quick and easy way to hail a ride home after a night of celebrating. Simply install a rideshare app on your smartphone before you go out, and use the app to call a car when you are ready to go home. You can also call a traditional cab or ask someone to do so for you.
If you are going out with a group, consider choosing a designated driver who will not drink. This person can make sure you get home safely, and you will face no risk of getting a DUI.
How a DUI Can Affect Your Future
Why is it so important to avoid a DUI in Pennsylvania in the first place? Because a drunk driving conviction can have lasting negative impacts on your life. The following are some of the penalties you could face for a first-time DUI in Pennsylvania:
- A one-year driver’s license suspension
- Six months in jail
- Probation for as long as six months
- Fines of as much as $5,000
Those are only the punishments for your first DUI. The penalties become much worse if you have previous DUI convictions on your record, or if you are involved in an accident while under the influence. Also keep in mind that your auto insurance premiums are likely to skyrocket after a DUI conviction.
Learn Your Legal Options After a DUI in Pennsylvania
Sometimes DUIs happen. When they do, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can help you fight your charge. Call Czekaj Law, LLC at (717) 275-9770 as soon as possible to discuss your case and your legal options.