St. Patty’s Day? Shoulda Put Those Keys Away!Everyone knows that if something has a rhyming title, it contains nothing but the truth (…the whole truth, so help you—) and should be listened to without question.

…Okay, fine, not really, but this is still important and you should still listen, so take the rhyme and buckle up, pun absolutely intended. As we make our way through another year, we are starting to go through the spring holiday season and all the fun that entails. And with the pandemic finally releasing its chokehold on the country, a lot of us even got to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day the way we all wanted to. There’s no need to be coy — you got hammered. Most people got hammered. Irish or not, you sure feel lucky with a few beers in your stomach.

Here’s the thing, though: you’re not THAT lucky, and the law doesn’t take a holiday. In other words, if you celebrated the day and didn’t plan for a designate driver or call an Uber, you might be wishing you could have a do-over.

How drunk driving is dangerous in more ways than one

I know you may already be rolling your eyes, because there isn’t a licensed driver alive who doesn’t know drunk driving is illegal and dangerous, but hear me out. It’s all too easy to become desensitized to warnings like that when they’re both constant and in the abstract. You’ve never been caught (or maybe you’ve never done it), so why do you have to read about this? Yada yada, driving into people is wrong, you’re not immortal, yada yada. However, when you become desensitized, you’re likelier to actually do the thing you’re so used to being warned against doing, because your brain has tricked you into thinking it’s not that big of a deal.

Your brain is a lying liar who lies, lying-ly. It lies so hard it just invented that word. Let’s look at some facts that haven’t figured out sentience yet and are therefore incapable of complex subconscious decisions, and you’ll see what I mean. If you don’t…listen anyways.

First, yes — drunk driving is dangerous because it is dangerous. You are impaired, which is something you should never be while operating heavy machinery on public roadways. In 2019 (the last year before the pandemic, and therefore with “typical” driving statistics), Maryland saw 535 of its citizens lose their lives on the roads, and one-third of those accidents involved someone impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both. No matter how good you think you personally are at driving while “buzzed,” you are not above joining those statistics. All those drivers thought they could do it, too.

Now, on holidays where drinking is a big part of the festivities, there are usually more impaired drivers on the roads. It’s dangerous enough to drive when only YOU are impaired, let alone every road-rage-filled partier around you. Nationwide, St. Patrick’s Day specifically is the 14th deadliest day to be on the roads. Before you think that, hey, that’s not that bad, scroll down the hyperlink a bit and see that New Year’s is 18th, and then think about just how many drunk driving incidents you hear about on New Year’s.

Yeah. It’s still a lot.

So, here’s the other way drunk driving is dangerous: cops are very, very aware of the issue, and they really want to arrest anyone they think is contributing to it. Last year, Maryland State Police increased patrols specifically around St. Patrick’s Day to catch as many inebriated drivers as possible, and they did it again this year. This meant checkpoints, random stops and searches, and a heightened presence in general looking for any reason at all to pull you over. Heck, even if you’re innocent but sneezed hard enough to swerve slightly, you probably still got a ticket for crossing a line.

What happens if I’m busted for DUI in Annapolis?

Let’s say it happens. Whether or not you actually drove drunk, let’s say a cop pulled you over on St. Patty’s Day and decides you seem inebriated enough to arrest and charge you with DUI. It’s not a fun experience, and you may want to think about it as little as possible, but you should really know what you’re up against so you know what to do about it. In Maryland, the penalties for DUIs aren’t exactly forgiving, which is also why you should absolutely never attempt to fight these charges without an experienced attorney. Seriously, Google is not an experienced attorney. Google is not even a person.

Hire a person, because the right person can help mitigate or wholly avoid DUI penalties, which can include:

  • Time in jail, usually at least a year if it’s your first offense and at least two if it’s your second
  • Thousands in fines, depending on the circumstances
  • A required ignition interlock device you have to blow into before it will allow you to drive
  • Possible loss of driving privileges
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Points on your license
  • Surcharges and any other associated fees
  • Community service
  • A required alcohol treatment program

When you work with an Annapolis criminal defense attorney, especially one with experience in DUI cases, they know how to poke holes in the credibility of the arresting officer until the charges cannot stand — at least not in the same form they started in. But you need to get started with your attorney as quickly as possible, because the court isn’t exactly on your side with this one. The more you delay, the harder it will be for your lawyer to build a strong case.

So, don’t drive drunk ever, but especially don’t drive drunk on famous DUI-rich holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. If you made a mistake, or if you’re just accused of doing so, talk to the  DUI criminal defense team at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law. With offices in Annapolis and Ellicott City, we really are here for you. Call us today at 410-271-1892 or use our contact form to place your future in the hands of more than just the luck o’ the Irish.

And remember — Keep Calm, and Call Drew!