Thanksgiving Is a Terrible Time for a DUI
Thanksgiving is all about tradition. Families gather together from all over the United States, or even farther away, to enjoy recipes that have been handed down for generations and to make new memories for a lifetime.
Unfortunately, not every Thanksgiving tradition is a positive one.
Anyone who participates in the yearly custom known as Blackout Wednesday may end up with something a lot worse than an upset stomach: a charge of DUI.
The trial attorneys at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., would like to remind everyone to stay safe this Thanksgiving and not to drink and drive. But if you do end up in trouble, we’re here to help. Call us today at (307) 257-7800 to learn more.
What Is Blackout Wednesday?
Blackout Wednesday is the night before Thanksgiving, full of pre-holiday parties and binge drinking that can lead to over-intoxication. Since few people work or have school the next day, why not kick back? Other names for this unofficial holiday include Black Wednesday, Drinksgiving, and Wacky Wednesday. The night has become so popular among revelers that in some places it’s more popular than New Year’s Eve or Saint Patrick’s Day. We don’t recommend you go so far as to “black out” and suffer a form of memory loss due to over-consumption of alcohol, but having a good time isn’t illegal. Until it is.
Reports have shown that Blackout Wednesday is the top drunk driving night of the year in some parts of the country. In response, police departments around the United States, including in Wyoming, increase the number of officers patrolling local roads and highways to catch drunk drivers. This may include sobriety checkpoints and unmarked police cars blending in with the normal traffic.
While this additional presence has a noble aim, attempting to make Wyoming roads safer for everyone, it also means that police officers may employ illegal or unconstitutional methods in the process of making arrests. If you are arrested, ask for an attorney right away. If you take steps to protect yourself in the beginning, it will help your case in the long run.
The Statistics on Thanksgiving DUIs Are Frightening
Authorities have known for years that Thanksgiving weekend is among the deadliest weekends of the year. There are a number reasons for this, such as weather-related hazards, increased drivers on the road, and an uptick in the number of heart attacks. But by far the biggest culprit is drunk driving.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012 there were 764 deadly motor vehicle crashes over Thanksgiving weekend. Of the fatal accidents, 60% of occupants were not wearing safety belts, while 40% involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. (By comparison, Christmas 2012 saw 654 fatal accidents.) There were almost 50,000 non-fatal car collisions over Thanksgiving in 2012 across the United States.
What Are the Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Wyoming?
The best way to stay safe is to avoid driving after consuming alcohol. There are many options these days if you’ve had one too many drinks in town, including using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, or crashing at a friend’s house.
If you do get charged with a DUI, the penalties can be stiff. The moment you are arrested, your license will be automatically suspended. For a first-time offender, the suspension will likely be for 90 days. You can imagine how difficult it can be getting around in Wyoming without a driver’s license. Fortunately, it is possible to apply for a waiver that will allow you to retain your driving privileges for work with the help of a lawyer. Doing so requires attending a hearing at WYDOT within 20 days of your arrest.
Some of the other typical penalties include:
- Up to 10 years of jail time
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Lifelong ignition interlock requirement. Once one of these devices is installed in your car, you will be forced to confirm you have not had any alcohol, usually via a breathalyzer test, or the car will not turn on.
There can be other consequences as well. Commercial drivers stand to lose their CDL following a DUI conviction. Even if the offense was not work-related (i.e., while the trucker was off-shift, driving his own car) there’s a good chance the employer will fire any driver convicted of a DUI-related offense.
Being accused of DUI can alter a person’s life, even before a trial and conviction. If you are facing alcohol-related charges in Wyoming, you need someone willing to protect you. The legal team at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., has a proven track record of success defending clients against DUI charges. Call (307) 257-7800 to schedule a free consultation with a Gillette DUI defense lawyer.
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