The holiday season is a wonderful time for reunions, celebrations and new beginnings with friends and family. Alcohol happens to be one of the things that Americans celebrate with. Drinking responsibly is important, especially if you plan to drive home after an event. Unfortunately, a holiday DUI could impact more than just your holiday. It could impact every facet of your life, so it is better to avoid one:
Reason #1: Driving Under the Influence Is Dangerous
The most important reason to avoid a DUI is that driving under the influence is dangerous. Alcohol acts as a depressant that slows down the nervous system. This means that alcohol:
- Delays brain functions
- Slows reaction time
- Negatively affects coordination.
Safe driving involves concentration. A driver needs to quickly be able to respond to weather conditions, road conditions and situations with other drivers.
Alcohol also makes it difficult to perceive and comprehend a situation. If you cannot efficiently comprehend or respond to your surroundings, you are at a higher risk of crashing, injuring yourself and potentially injuring passengers, other drivers and pedestrians.
Reason #2: California Agencies Instate a Maximum Enforcement Period
It is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and local law enforcement agencies will be on high alert for impaired drivers.
During the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day, you can expect law enforcement to instate a maximum enforcement period. This means that every available officer will be on duty. In addition, there will be a zero-tolerance policy for drunk drivers.
There will likely be sobriety checkpoints set up on highways and local streets to check drivers for signs of impairment. Agencies should provide sufficient warning to drivers about when and where these sobriety checkpoints will be placed.
Reason #3: California Has Strict DUI Penalties
California has some of the strictest DUI penalties in the country. Consequences of a holiday DUI will depend on multiple factors. These factors include:
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
- Damages or injuries incurred
- Prior offenses
DUIs are expensive. Base fines from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) could cost up to $1,000. However, after penalty assessments, a DUI could cost thousands of dollars.
In addition to fines, California has an automatic license suspension law for DUIs. A first-time offense can result in an automatic license suspension of six months.
A first-time DUI could also result in the following consequences:
- Jail time
- Completion of a drug and alcohol program
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
An ignition interlock device requires a person to pass a breathalyzer test before their car will start.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer in San Jose or the Bay Area?
Once charged with a holiday DUI, you only have 10 days to schedule a hearing with the DMV to appeal your license suspension. We recommend that you speak with our San Jose DUI attorney beforehand.
Our San Jose DUI lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under California law. We may also be able to help you keep your license.
The Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich represents San Jose and Bay Area residents who have been charged with a variety of crimes. We do not believe that one choice should impact your everyday way of life.