Don’t let celebration lead to incarceration this holiday

Fourth of July is coming up, and that means people across the U.S. will be celebrating our country’s independence.

Whether you plan to celebrate with friends at the bar or in your backyard with family, it is crucial that you do so responsibly, as a criminal charge for an offense like drunk driving could have serious consequences. Below, we discuss a few important reminders to think about before the holiday so that you can potentially avoid interactions with police and criminal charges.

  1. Expect ramped up enforcement. Police know that more people drink during holidays like the Fourth of July. As such, they often devote more time and resources to identifying and arresting suspected drunk drivers, so you could see more police out on patrol. There will also be DUI checkpoints across Pennsylvania, so it can be wise to prepare for these and familiarize yourself with driver expectations at these checkpoints.
  2. You have rights. There is no holiday when it comes to drivers’ rights and proper police procedure. In other words, you still have rights and police must still enforce the laws properly. For instance, you can refuse DUI testing if you wish (though there will be penalties) and you can turn away from a checkpoint. As long as you do so without violating any laws (like failing to use your turn signal), this decision will not give police reason to pull you over.
  3. A DUI arrest is not the same as a DUI conviction. If police do stop you and arrest you for suspicion of drunk driving, try to stay calm. Comply with orders and ask to speak with an attorney right away. Getting angry with police or resisting arrest will only make your situation worse.

One final reminder is that you can avoid the complications and stresses of a DUI by finding a sober ride home. Call a cab, take the bus or get a ride with a sober friend. Making these arrangements ahead of time can go a long way in helping you avoid the temptation or need to drive when you may be intoxicated.