A DUI can happen at any time, day or night, 365 days a year. However, there are certain times of the year when DUIs are more common. This usually involves holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Each year, law enforcement and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) compare statistics to determine if the trend in DUIs has increased or decreased over the prior year.
The numbers are in for the holiday drunk driving enforcement period. As usual, there are no clear trends in the number of drivers who have had too much to drink and gotten behind the wheel. In some parts of California, arrests are up and accidents are down. In other parts of the state, the situation is reversed. Statewide, the number of DUI arrests is up over last year.
Last year, two people died in alcohol-related driving incidents over the Christmas enforcement period. Unfortunately, that number remained unchanged for 2015, with two fatalities this year as well. The total number of traffic fatalities; however, did fall, with 10 deaths over the Christmas weekend compared to 15 last year. The total number of DUI arrests for that time frame was also up statewide, from 565 last year to 608 this year.
When taking into account New Year's Eve and New Year's day, statewide arrests were up over last year. 2014 saw 510 arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence, compared to 566 this year. Traffic fatalities were also up over the New Year's holiday over last year, with 12 deaths compared to 9 deaths the year before. These arrest numbers are based on CHP arrests, and do not include local law enforcement, including sheriff's department and police department arrests.
Concord police arrested at least three people for suspected DUIs after Christmas in the lead up to New Year's Eve. From early evening on New Year's Eve through New Year's Day, CHP officers in the Bay Area made 35 DUI arrests. One of those arrests involved a driver who rolled his vehicle on I-80 in Richmond, and another driver crashed into a wall on at the MacArthur Maze on New Year's morning.
There was also an unfortunate DUI-related fatality on New Year's Day here in Alameda County. 20-year-old Travis Maresca of Livermore was driving eastbound on I-580 in a 2009 Toyota Scion. Maresca apparently lost control of the vehicle, crashing into a pole. His passenger, 20-year-old Kayla Turner from San Jose, died as a result of the accident. Despite being underage, Maresca was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and booked into the Santa Rita jail. He may also be facing vehicular manslaughter charges.
Don't let 2016 start with a conviction for driving under the influence. If you or a loved one was arrested for a DUI over the holiday weekend, remember that an arrest does not have to end in a conviction. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending drivers 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, possibly your job, 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.