On Independence Day, there is generally a spike in drunk driving arrests in the East Bay. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), July 4th is the deadliest single day for crash deaths. An average of 118.4 lives are lost in crashes on the Independence Day Holiday. 47% of the deaths on July 4th involved at least one driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08% or higher. How will this year compare to prior years?
Drunk Driving Arrests in the Time of COVID
2020 is not like other years. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit East Bay residents with viral infections, shortages, and stay-at-home orders. While residents are adapting to the changes, some things have changed little. The police and law enforcement are still on the lookout for drivers who they think may be impaired.
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 usually celebrated with picnics, barbecues, backyard parties, parades, and gathering at nightfall to watch fireworks light up the sky. However, this year, area fireworks displays and parades have been canceled in favor of virtual, remote, and online events. However, family and friends are still likely to fire up the grill and crack a few drinks with others they live with or social-distancing gatherings.
When people drive home from a cookout or someone has to make a run to the grocery store, they may not realize they are near or above the legal limit. Even if the driver feels fine, a burnt-out taillight or failure to signal could lead to a traffic stop. The smell of alcohol or smoke may be enough to put the officer on suspicion of a DUI.
COVID-19/coronavirus has shut down a number of bars, social gatherings, and 4th of July fireworks displays. However, it has not stopped drivers from being arrested on suspicion of a DUI. According to a California news report, DUI charges in May were back up to pre-pandemic levels.
Police officers in Hawaii have reported a similar trend. Even with fewer cars on the road, the rate of DUI arrests have changed little compared to a year ago. The Maui Police Department reported 250 DUI arrests by this time last year compared to 246 for 2020.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Arrest in the East Bay
People are quick to condemn anyone arrested for a DUI. However, it is important to remember that people make mistakes. In some cases, innocent people are accused of drunk driving even if they are below the legal limit. Just because someone is arrested for a DUI does not mean they are guilty of a crime.
If you are driving anywhere over the holiday weekend, make sure you have an East Bay DUI lawyer's number ready to call. If you have had a little too much to drink, or the police wrongly arrested you for a DUI, an experienced Alameda County and Contra Costa County DUI lawyer knows how to handle any DUI situation.
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 35 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.