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Beware of DUI patrols at Thanksgiving

Most people mentally associate Thanksgiving with turkey, football, family, friends and fun. We envision eating too much, honoring family traditions, snagging deals on Black Friday, and kicking off the Christmas holiday season.

Celebrating also often involves alcohol. Indeed, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is colloquially referred to as "Blackout Wednesday" because of its reputation as a hard-drinking celebratory time. As a result, police agencies across Tennessee - and around the country - are gearing up for additional DUI monitoring as the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaches.

The alarming statistics

According to statistics compiled by SCRAM, a manufacturer of alcohol monitoring technology, "Blackout Wednesday" is the unofficial kickoff of the holiday drinking and driving season. Particularly in urban areas and amongst college students enjoying a break, this is one of the biggest drunk driving nights of the year.

Nationally, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, 2.5 times as many people die in drunk driving crashes as at other points in the year.

The end-of-year holiday season does not have DUI arrest rates that are quite as high as the Fourth of July. But the combination of time off from work, traveling to visit family, blowing off steam and getting in the celebratory spirit, make it a time that authorities generally target for extra DUI enforcement patrols.

Staying out of trouble

The easiest way to avoid potential drunk driving charges is, of course, to not climb behind the wheel after imbibing. Having a sober driver, taking public transit, hiring a ride-share service, staying over at your host's home after a private party, or walking home after a night at the bar are all ways to prevent a DUI arrest.

Should you underestimate your level of intoxication and drive anyway, you may end up paying a huge price for a single bad decision. However, there are ways to fight back against a DUI charge by challenging the validity of the underlying stop, bringing doubt to the breath or blood testing results, asserting affirmative defenses and more.

A skilled attorney can provide a vigorous defense aimed at preventing serious penalties and consequences.

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