Many people are returning home to California to gather together with family to celebrate Thanksgiving. Students away at college may be coming back to the East Bay to take a break from school and get together with old friends before the big feast on Thursday. Unfortunately for some drivers, Thanksgiving is also a time for increased drunk driving arrests.
Are There More DUIs Around Thanksgiving?
Whenever people are celebrating, there is an increased risk of drinking and driving. This includes holidays from the 4th of July to Christmas. Thanksgiving is another time of year when there may be more people who have time off of work or school and are celebrating with friends and family. Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday, meaning many people are off from Wednesday afternoon until they have to be back to work on Monday, giving them a 4-day weekend.
The days around Thanksgiving also have increased road travel. According to AAA, last year, holiday road travelers returned to almost pre-pandemic levels. This year, 50 million holiday travelers may be taking road trips for Thanksgiving. The combination of long hours on the road, driver fatigue, and drinking can be a dangerous combination when police are on heightened alert for impaired drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from 2015 to 2019, 800 people died in crashes involving a drunk driver.
What Is Blackout Wednesday?
According to an article in Forbes, alcohol sales increase significantly on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Eve has been called Blackout Wednesday, Drinksgiving, or Bar Night. According to a restaurant management company, in 2016, beer sales increased 270% on Thanksgiving Eve over the week before. Growler and pitcher sales increased by 658%. Even liquor sales went up over 113%.
A DUI arrest on the night before Thanksgiving will not only ruin the big meal but it can ruin your whole holiday season. A drunk driving arrest can end up costing thousands of dollars in fines, court costs, insurance increases, and loss of your driver's license. By hiring an experienced DUI defense lawyer, you may be able to avoid the long-term consequences of having a criminal record for drunk driving and keep your license to drive.
Holiday Season DUIs in Oakland and the East Bay
Drinking and driving over Thanksgiving is no surprise to police in Oakland and the East Bay. Law enforcement are well aware of the holidays and have increased enforcement to target impaired driving. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and other law enforcement departments have Maximum Enforcement Periods (MEPs) that usually start on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving and run through Sunday night.
According to the CHP, "During the MEP, all available CHP officers will be on patrol, looking for unsafe driving practices, including seat belt violations, speeding, distracted driving, and signs of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs."
East Bay DUI Defense
If you plan to go out drinking with friends before Thanksgiving, plan ahead to get home safely. You can designate a sober driver, use public transportation, hire a taxi, or call an Uber or Lyft if you had too much to drink. If you do end up under arrest for a DUI in the East Bay, call an experienced DUI defense attorney for legal help.
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 39 years of DUI defense experience and understands the consequences of a criminal record. Representing individuals and their families in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay criminal defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.