Many of us may have chosen to enjoy a stiff pint on St. Patrick's Day, and with the celebration of Irish heritage through punishing volumes of green beer comes the increased possibility of receiving drunk driving charges. Right here in Georgia, law enforcement significantly increase the presence of DUI checkpoints for the holiday, looking to curb the number of accidents brought on by the statistically greater number of drunk drivers on the roads.
If you received a DUI due to St. Patrick's Day celebration, don't make the mistake of assuming it is somehow a lesser charge simply because of the circumstances. A DUI charge is serious no matter how or when it occurs, and can have significant implications, even for first time offenses.
First time offenses rarely carry significant legal penalties unless the driver commits some other crime, such as reckless driving, intoxicated driving with children in the vehicle or is involved in an accident. In general, a first time DUI offense is handed down as a misdemeanor charge.
However, this charge creates a host of the complications for the driver. Not only does the driver face difficulties continuing to retain his or her license or insurance, once one DUI is on the driver's record, subsequent charges can mean much more severe penalties. In some cases, a DUI can escalate to a felony charge simply because the driver has previously received other DUI convictions, even if they are minor violations.
Do not hesitate to begin building your defense as soon as you can after receiving DUI charges. You may have more ways to combat the matter than you think, but the longer you wait, the fewer options and opportunities you have. An experienced defense attorney can help guide you as you build strong legal strategies to protect your rights, keeping you safe and ready to celebrate with green beer and big shiny hats for years to come.
Source: WTVM, "Don't test your luck: St. Patrick's DUI crackdown," Danielle Lewan, March 15, 2018