September 19, 2023
It’s true: you may be more likely to get a DUI charge in Colorado at Christmas compared to other times of the year. There are several reasons for this. Learn more about the common reasons and what to do if you are charged with a DUI this Christmas.
Drunk driving incidents rise at Christmas for three main reasons: holiday parties, holiday stress, and increased patrols. We’ll discuss each in detail below.
Parties and Get-togethers
This time of year, families and friends gather to celebrate, and many gatherings involve the use of alcohol. All too frequently, people leave those gatherings with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. Over twelve percent of adults who drink admit that they decided to drive even though they suspected they were too drunk to do so.
The U. S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that drunk driving is to blame for 40 percent of all crashes during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That’s a 12 percent hike over all other days in December.
With both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve falling on weekends this year, the drunk driving crash and fatality rates are expected to rise. Saturdays are the most dangerous day to drive, according to the NHTSA. More than 30 percent of fatalities due to drunk driving occur on weekends, most often between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. Pedestrians also have higher death rates on weekends, especially if they are intoxicated themselves.
If you don’t drink very often, it’s helpful to pace yourself. Many drunk driving cases are first-time offenses because people with a low tolerance for alcohol drink socially and end up too drunk to drive.
You can also track your drinking. No more than one drink per hour is generally a good rule, but that depends on your metabolism, weight, and tolerance.
The smartest, safest plan of action is to always assign a designated driver. When the party’s over, you can also call a cab, ask to stay overnight, or stay a while longer to sober up. Taking these precautions can help you avoid a DUI charge.
The Christmas season is fun and enjoyable for many, but it is also a source of stress for almost all of us. The extra activities, shopping, cooking, decorating and responsibilities can be exhausting. Not to mention that most of us will spend time with relatives we may not get along with too well. Those factors combine to create holiday stress, and many people turn to alcohol for relief.
Let these statistics sink in:
- Half of all family Christmas gatherings have alcohol present.
- Sixteen percent of U. S. adults confess they drink more during the Christmas holiday season compared to the rest of the year.
- Just over fifty percent of drunk drivers admit to drinking more than usual during the holidays.
Why do people drink more during the holidays? Socializing may be part of the answer, but stress is probably the biggest reason. When you get together with family you don’t see all that often, things can be awkward and difficult. If any negative emotions lie under the surface, it’s easy to put up a defense against criticism and new wounds. These uncomfortable feelings can cause stress.
Alcohol seems to take the edge off awkwardness and can feel like a distraction from painful emotions. The problem happens when someone drinks too much to alleviate stress, then gets behind the wheel.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36 people die on an average day in the United States due to a crash involving a drunk driver. However, that number increases to 45 deaths per day during the three-day Christmas holiday, and rises even higher to 54 deaths per day during New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Those significant increases mean that highway patrol departments are on alert for more incidents of drunk driving. Often, the number of stops on Christmas Eve is one-third higher than normal because police know how prone people are to drinking too much at parties. Police are determined to lower the numbers of crashes and fatalities, so heavier patrolling should be expected.
How to Handle Colorado DUI Charges
Getting convicted for a DUI brings with it many penalties. Fines, license suspension, community service, and higher insurance rates may be imposed on you.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.