‘Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry – right? Many holiday party-goers will enjoy a glass of eggnog or a holiday martini to celebrate the season. Others are drinking due to holiday stress and pressure, or to combat the tension of family relationships. Whatever the reason for drinking may be, more people are consuming alcohol this time of year and inevitably there are an increased number of drunk drivers on the road.

Across Washington State, there are increased patrols on the roads, aimed at targeting DUI drivers. The Mercer Island Reporter reports that the extra patrols are expected to be in place from Dec 15 – Jan 1 throughout King County and all across the state. Local police departments, Washington State Patrol, and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board are participating in the extra patrols. Law enforcement are ready to arrest drunk drivers who may be putting lives at risk this holiday season.

The extra patrols are funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), who are committed to reducing DUI accidents and fatalities. There is reportedly increased concern related to a recent rise in DUI related traffic fatalities, especially among drivers who were using mixing alcohol and other substances. The WTSC is exploring details of recent traffic fatalities in order to find common threads. Findings have illustrated the extreme danger of mixing alcohol, marijuana and other drugs with driving. The WTSC is in strong support of the Target Zero mission, aiming to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030.

Avoid a Holiday DUI:

More DUI arrests occur during the holidays than at any other time of year. With extra patrols in place, we can expect this number could rise. We urge you to remember that a DUI will not only disrupt your holiday plans, it can have serious consequences on your future, in addition to putting lives at risk.

You could be looking at driver’s license suspension, large fines, jail time, relationship stress, and the long term impacts of a criminal record.

Dellino Law Group encourages you to use our party planning tips to stay safe during your holiday celebrations:

  • Choose to drive sober or designate someone else to. If you are the designated driver, don’t drink.
  • Plan ahead: Save the number of a taxi or rideshare company in your phone so you will always have a backup plan.
  • Consider using smartphone apps like Lyft or Uber.
  • Consider a limo or party bus if you are going out with a large group of friends who drink.
  • If you have been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use a rideshare company, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • If you know others who are about to drive under the influence, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being accused of DUI:

  • Don’t answer any questions. Politely tell the officer you don’t wish to make any statements and you want to speak to an attorney. Admission can be used against you later in court, but your silence or request for counsel cannot.
  • Don’t complete field tests.These tests are voluntary and you should tell the officer you decline any voluntary tests. The officer is looking for evidence against you and it is never a good idea to give it to them.
  • Contact an attorney. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.