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Drunk Driving During the Holidays

The Police Are Determined to Stop You


Updated February 08, 2014

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You're not paranoid, they really are out to get you. If you plan to drink during this up-coming holiday season and get behind the wheel of a vehicle, the police are determined to get you off the road.

Yes, there are more patrolmen than usual on the highways during this time of the year. And there are more of those pesky checkpoint roadblocks set up around the area. On top of that, almost everyone on the road has a cell phone now and can report erratic driving instantly.

Trying to Save Lives

Because there is more drinking going on during holidays and long weekends, there is consequently more drinking and driving going on. More traffic crashes and alcohol-related highway deaths occur during holiday periods than other times during the year.

Therefore, law enforcement agencies, in an effort to prevent property loss and the loss of life, increase their efforts around holiday seasons to get intoxicated drivers off the highways. They know that impaired drivers are much more likely to crash than drivers who are not drinking.

The best way to avoid the hassle of the increased patrols and checkpoints is to not get behind the wheel after you have been drinking. However, if you do drive while drinking, and you get caught, you are in for a lot of legal headaches:

You're Heading to Court

If you were stopped and recorded with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above, in all 50 states you are in fact guilty of driving under the influence. Every state now has a law that declares you guilty, regardless of how you appeared at the time or how well you "hold" your alcohol.

Your Driving Privileges Revoked

The actual penalties for drunk driving vary widely from state to state, but in every jurisdiction if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated you will pay a fine and have your driver's license suspended or revoked. Some states also mandate some jail time for even first drunk driving offenders.

Going to Drunk Driving School

Your driver's license will be revoked for a minimum period of time, but that doesn't mean you automatically get your driving privileges back when that time expires. In most states, you have to complete an alcohol education program - known sometimes as drunk driving school - before you can apply to get your license back. How much school will depend on an evaluation of your driving record and drinking habits.

Evaluating Your Drinking

Before you attend the educational classes, a trained counselor will interview you to determine if your drunk driving arrest was likely the result of your pattern of alcohol consumption. If your evaluation finds that you do indeed have a drinking problem, you may also have to receive some kind of treatment for that problem as well as attend the drunk driving school.

An Ignition Lock on Your Car

In an increasing number of states, convicted drunk drivers are required to pay for an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in which you have to blow before the car will crank. If you have had any alcohol at all, the vehicle will not move.

You're Not Done Yet!

After all the fines, fees, court costs, school and evaluation fees, treatment costs, and installing and maintaining the ignition interlock device, you are still not finished paying for your holiday drive. Your auto insurance is going to double or triple for several years. If you have a job that requires you to have a driver's license, security clearances or bonding, you just might lose that job.

Don't Get Behind the Wheel

If you want to avoid all the above hassle, it's simple. Just don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you have had anything to drink and all those extra patrols and checkpoint this holiday will become just a brief, minor inconvenience.

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