March 17 may seem like just another day to many people. However, many cities celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like it’s a full-blown holiday. They celebrate in style, with everything from parades to green beer. In fact, Chicago was voted as one of the best places to party on St. Patrick’s Day. The city dyes the Chicago River green and has a huge parade.
While it’s perfectly acceptable to have fun, there’s a fine line between having a couple drinks and driving while drunk. If you’re not careful, you could be hit with a costly DUI charge. If you’re facing DUI charges, contact a Chicago DUI defense lawyer at 312-909-0706. The attorneys at O’Meara Law will help defend your case.
Penalties for Chicago DUI Charges
With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday this year, there’s no doubt that the partying will be in full swing. Green alcoholic drinks will be in virtually every bar, and since you likely won’t have to report to work the next day, you might be tempted to go a little overboard with your drinking.
Many police officers are on high alert during holidays and other days of the year when people are likely to drink. If you choose to drive while under the influence, your chances of getting caught are greatly increased.
A DUI is no laughing matter. It’s a criminal charge that could mean up to six months of jail time for a first-time offense. In addition, your license may be revoked for one year (two years if you’re under age 21). You’ll also face a minimum fine of up to $1,000 and have your vehicle registration revoked. Community service and attendance in a drug and alcohol program may also be required. After it’s all said and done, the total costs of a DUI can exceed $16,000 – for a first-time offense. Second and subsequent offenses can lead to increased penalties.
Tips for Partying Responsibly
It’s fine to party on St. Patrick’s Day – or any other day of the year, for that matter. The key is to do it responsibly. When you drink too much and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you endanger not only your life, but the lives of others as well. Here’s what you can do to make sure everyone gets home safe:
- Don’t overdo it. If you plan to drive home, limit yourself to just a couple drinks. If you do happen to have too much to drink, don’t drive. There are many ridesharing programs that can help you get home safely. Call Uber, Lyft, or even a cab. Don’t risk it.
- Have a designated driver. You likely have a friend or family member who doesn’t drink. Ask them to come along with you or pick you up at a certain time. Having a ride at the end of the night shows that you’re being responsible.
- Pull over. If you do find yourself driving after having too much to drink, it’s not too late to remedy the situation. Instead of continuing to drive while under the influence of alcohol, pull over, put your keys away and sleep it off. It’s worth noting that you could still be charged with a DUI, but if you pull over, you’re safe.
If you do get pulled over and charged with a DUI, it’s important to act quickly in order to preserve your legal rights. The Chicago DUI defense lawyers at O’Meara Law can help reduce your penalties so you can get back behind the wheel quickly.
For legal assistance, contact us online or call 312-909-0706.