Are Courts Stricter When You Receive a DUI During the Holidays?

More DUI arrests are made during holidays, but most judges are not more strict about penalties. They are not more lenient either. Many states have mandatory sentencing laws for drunk drivers. Where those laws don’t exist and judges have more discretion, judges vary on how strictly they sentence.

In this Drunk Drivers Rights guide we will discuss whether the courts are more strict if you receive a DUI during the holidays.

DUI Arrests Rise During the Holidays

Most states report a rise in DUI arrests of 40% or more during the month of December. The conviction rate is just about the same, so it’s not more likely you’ll be convicted of drunk driving if you get arrested. But it’s more likely you’ll get arrested and charged.

Why DUI Arrests Increase During the Holidays

There are 2 basic reasons that DUI arrests reach an annual high during December. First, more people are celebrating and do not take into account the dangers of drinking and driving; therefore practicing poor judgement. Work parties, holiday events, family holiday gatherings and getting together with friends to celebrate all contribute to the increase of drunk driving during the holiday season.

Secondly, law enforcement uses extra manpower to identify DUI drivers during the holidays. Police often work overtime in December, so there are more patrols on the road during peak “drunk driving” hours. Secondly, in many areas, state and local police set up DUI checkpoints. In some of these checkpoints, the percentage of drivers who fail DUI tests is as high as 5%. That means that if the police stop 1,000 cars during a 4-hour checkpoint, they may make 50 arrests for suspicion of DUI.

Avoiding DUI Prosecution During the Holidays

Don’t drink too much and then get behind the wheel. It’s that simple. If you intend to celebrate, then find an alternative to driving drunk; such as a designated driver or alternative transportation such as a taxi or a friend.

If you are going to a family gathering, plan to spend the night if that’s an option. Or suggest that your family hold its holiday party at a local hotel where people can rent rooms, so that there is no need to drive.

Are courts more strict if you receive a DUI during the holidays?  In most places, they are not. They are no more lenient either. But since drunk driving arrests skyrocket during the holidays, starting in mid-December, it makes sense to take extra precautions so that you don’t become a DUI statistic this year.

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly during your DUI arrest, it is best to contact a DUI attorney and ask for help.