For people who enjoy festive holidays with raucous parties, St. Patrick's Day is a great time to wear your green and enjoy drinks with friends. St. Patrick's is also notorious for early and all-day drinking that can lead to problems, especially when revellers do not plan ahead to make sure they have a safe ride home. Because of this, St. Patrick's Day can be a peak day for drinking and driving.
Last year, the Contra Costa Avoid the 25 anti-DUI task force was out in full effect for St. Patrick's Day, and the same is expected this year. Police officers, sheriffs, and the California Highway Patrol are well aware of the relationship between St. Patrick's Day celebrations and drunk driving. Increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints should deter those on the fence about whether or not to try driving to a St. Patrick's Day bar crawl.
According to one estimate, almost 75% of the DUI fatalities on St. Patrick's Day involved drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of twice the legal limit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving during peak holiday seasons, including St. Patrick's Day. They also provide advice for those hosting St. Patrick's parties, to make sure all guests designate their sober drivers in advance, to stop serving alcohol before the end of the party, and keep contact information for rideshares or taxi cabs.
In addition to the local pub and bar events celebrating St. Patrick's Day, San Francisco is home to a large parade and celebration down Market Street. The good news is that there is a variety of public transportation options between San Francisco and many East Bay communities. However, if attendees park at any of the local Muni or BART stops, they still have to find a way home from where they parked their car.
Local communities like our Irish-namesake Dublin, will have their own St. Patrick's Day festivities, that tend to be more family friendly, while still providing drinks for adults. The Dublin event will take place the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, but that doesn't mean the Dublin Police won't be out looking for intoxicated drivers. In a sea of green, you don't want to see the flashing colors of blue and red.
Speaking of green, it can be sobering for people to learn just how much money a DUI conviction may cost them in the long term. In addition to the fees and fines of over $1,000, drivers will also be responsible for paying the cost of their ignition interlock device, DUI school, getting their driver's license reinstated, and higher auto insurance rates for years to come.
If you end up under arrest on suspicion of drinking and driving this St. Patrick's Day, contact a DUI lawyer who has dedicated their legal career to defending people charged with a DUI in the East Bay. With over 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI conviction can affect your future, and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.