The July 4th holiday celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which declared independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. The holiday is often celebrated with picnics, barbecues, backyard parties, parades, and gathering at nightfall to watch fireworks light up the sky. With all the festivities, many people enjoy eating a variety of food, and drinking refreshing summer beverages. Adults often enjoy cold beers or festive cocktails outside in the summer sun, while conversing with friends. However too much alcohol combined with decision to drive home afterwards can lead to problems, including an arrest for driving under the influence.
If you end up getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the 4th of July weekend, you will surely not be alone. The dates surrounding the 4th of July are well known to cops and the insurance companies for being busy nights for drunk driving. Unfortunately, it also often tops the list with deadliest dates for car accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), July 4th is the deadliest day for Americans on the road. From 2007 to 2011, July 4th averaged 134 deaths per year on that date alone.
As part of California's efforts to deter drivers from getting on the road after drinking, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and local law enforcement often announce DUI checkpoints ahead of time. The CHP has already announced a planned sobriety checkpoint for Friday, July 3rd and a yet to be determined location in Contra Costa County. This is part of the CHP's Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) which will take place from 6pm on Friday, July 3rd, and continue through late Sunday night, July 5th.
Given the increased likelihood of a deadly accident, increased sobriety checkpoints, and stepped up drunk driving enforcement patrols, Independence Day is not the day to take a chance when it comes to drinking and driving. If you and your friends are going out this weekend to partake in the festivities, make sure you have a plan in place to get home safe. Some tips to make sure you don't end up intoxicated behind the wheel include:
- Have a designated driver. A designated driver will remain sober, and be responsible for making sure you get home safe. Designated drivers can also occasionally get free or reduced priced entry and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Know the route home on public transportation. Public transit is easily accessible here in the East Bay, and will usually not cost more than a few dollars to get you safely home after the fireworks end. Be sure to check for detours due to the many parades on July 4th.
- Have the phone number for a ride home. Taxis and ride-share programs like Uber or Lyft make it even easier now, with app-based ways to hail a ride home. These rides can go door-to-door if you live away from public transportation.
- Call a Tipsy Tow. Northern California's AAA has a Tipsy Tow program, also known as Tow To Go, where you can get a ride home from a tow truck driver, and they will bring your car home as well. If you drove to an event, and had too much, this way you and your car can be sure to get home safely. Check to make sure the service is available in your location.
- Have an East Bay DUI lawyer's number ready to call. If you happen to end up on the wrong side of the flashing lights, have your DUI lawyer's number available. Whether you had too much to drink, or the police wrongly arrested you for a DUI when you were below the limit, or completely sober, an experienced, local DUI lawyer knows how to handle any DUI situation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can be assured that your arrest does not have to lead to a conviction.
Below is a local list of cities with 4th of July events. But wherever you plan to go this weekend to celebrate Independence Day, warm weather, food and fireworks, be sure to stay safe. If you or someone you know gets arrested on suspicion of a DUI, don't let an arrest end in a criminal conviction. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with driving under the influence in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of DUI experience, she understands the penalties involved. You do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. Contact a local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands local DUI laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve.
Local 4th of July Events
The East Bay will be full of local celebrations, festivals, parades, and firework displays this Saturday. East Bay cities featuring celebrations on July 4th include:
Contra Costa County:
Concord (parade, concert and fireworks)
Martinez (celebration and fireworks)
Moraga (dog parade and fireworks)
Orinda (parade and celebration in the park)
Pleasant Hill (parade, festival and fireworks)
San Pablo (fireworks)
San Ramon (picnic and party)
Berkeley (festival and fireworks)
Emeryville (party and fireworks)
Oakland (festival, picnic and fireworks)
Piedmont (parade and pancake breakfast)
Pleasanton (Alameda County Fair, concert and fireworks)