This Independence Day weekend was a big one. The Fourth of July was on a Sunday, putting the celebrations on a weekend. And, this was the first Independence Day after the pandemic has waned somewhat, which led many more people to travel than you might see in the usual year.
Unfortunately, Independence Day is already a very common time for drunk driving. The holiday period, which ran between about 6 p.m. on Friday through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, was expected to have an unusually high rate of driving and drunk driving, according to the National Safety Council.
While the numbers aren’t in yet, before the Fourth the National Safety Council estimated that there would be more drunk driving fatalities this year than in an average year. In fact, they estimated that 482 people would be killed this year by drunk driving during the Independence Day holiday.
With an estimate like that one, you can imagine that law enforcement was out in force over the holiday period. They typically run saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints and focus more attention on drunk drivers than they would on an ordinary weekend.
If you were pulled over, don’t panic
All that extra law enforcement activity may have caught up some people who didn’t deserve it. Or, you may have had too much to drink before you drove. Either way, panicking doesn’t help. What does help is getting information and making an effective plan.
Your money, your driver’s license and your freedom are on the line.
Even for a typical first offense, you could be facing serious consequences:
- Between 48 hours and 11 months, 29 days in jail
- License revocation for a year (a restricted license may be available)
- Mandatory alcohol and drug treatment program
- A fine of between $350 and $1,500
- Restitution paid to anyone you injured or whose property you damaged
- An ignition interlock device installed on your car at your expense
- High-risk insurance
- Towing, bail, court costs, license reinstatement fees and more
If this was not your first offense, or if someone was seriously injured or killed, the penalties can be much worse. The same is true if you had a child passenger in your car when you were arrested.
These are serious penalties, and this is no time to go it alone. Even if you think you’re guilty, talk to a lawyer before you make any admissions or agree to plead guilty. A defense attorney can argue for you to receive lower penalties, get some charges dismissed or reduced, or fight for an acquittal in court.