You likely need no reminder that New Year's Eve is coming up this weekend. Most adults like to celebrate this holiday at parties where alcohol is served. While this is perfectly fine by itself, it is important to remember that drunk driving is a serious hazard that could put your life and your freedom at risk.
Because of the annual spike in drunk driving rates over the New Year's holiday, police agencies across Virginia are increasing enforcement efforts. News sources report that law enforcement agencies are instituting increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints on roads throughout the state.
If you will be drinking at a New Year's party this weekend, please plan ahead to ensure that you can get home safely and legally. Options include:
- Drinking less and spacing out drinks to ensure that you stay under the legal limit
- Planning to take a taxi, a bus or a ride-sharing service to get home
- Coordinating with a designated driver well before the party starts
- Staying overnight at the party location (if possible) so that you can sober up before driving home
- Calling a sober friend or family member if no other rides are available
Please remember that driving drunk (or even driving slightly tipsy) is not just risking criminal charges; it's also a safety issue. According to statistics from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 7,600 alcohol-related accidents in 2015. About 32 percent of those crashes were fatal and another 7.6 percent resulted in serious injury.
As a final note, please also keep in mind that mistakes can be made during periods of increased enforcement. Even if you are under the legal limit (or haven't been drinking at all), police officers could still pull you over and may mistakenly charge you with drunk driving. If you do get arrested for DUI with weekend (mistakenly or otherwise), please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!