Are you wondering what to do if your Independence Day celebrations are now threatening your independence? If you found yourself in handcuffs after drinking and driving during the July 4th weekend in California, you’re not alone.
For many Americans, Independence Day is synonymous with indulgence, including eating 150 million hotdogs and spending a whopping $3 billion on beer and wine. Combine over $3 billion in alcoholic drinks with the number of people who decided to travel over 50 miles from home for a celebration: 50.7 million, and it’s a recipe for trouble.
Unfortunately, not everyone was able to find a designated driver, cab, Uber, or Lyft in Southern California when they needed one this past holiday weekend.
And the California Highway Patrol (“CHP”) and police departments were out in force, focusing on distracted, reckless, or drunk driving in a weekend long “maximum enforcement” campaign.
As a result, drunk driving accidents and charges were in abundance this holiday season – more so than has been the trend from recent years.
Over the four-day weekend, the CHP arrested 1,224 people for driving under the influence on California roads and highways, according to ABC 10. What does that number of statewide California 4th of July DUIs mean? It means that more people were arrested for DUI and drug DUI this year than the agency arrested in the past two years.
When the increase of travelers crowd the highways for social engagements, and possibly some who have had a few too many drinks, the Fourth of July weekend earns the distinction of one of the most dangerous times to be on the road.
This has resulted in many newspapers and websites trying to help drivers discover the safest and best time to travel for the Fourth of July holiday.
“July Fourth is a holiday where people are off work, out of school, and they may be celebrating with alcohol,” Russ Rader, the senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) told Today. “And alcohol use sharply increases the risk of crashes.”
This makes July one of the most dangerous months to be on the road, with more people dying in drunk driving crashes than any other month of the year, according to Today.
Nearly 70 people died in car crashes over the 4th of July holiday weekend across California, according to ABC 10.
The “National Highway Traffic Safety Association found that between 2007 and 2011, 40 percent of all the highway deaths that occurred were the result of drunk drivers over the Fourth of July weekend. July 3rd was also in the list of the top 10 deadliest days to be on the roads because of drivers being under the influence,” according to alcohol.org.
The IIHS notes that car crashes taking place on or during the Independence Day holiday claim an average of 118.4 lives every year, particularly since binge drinking around the Fourth of July makes the occasion “one of the most consistently deadly days of the year.” The organization emphasizes that this increased risk not only applies to those who drive drunk, but also other drivers and pedestrians.
This rise in DUI arrests this year is concerning to the CHP, Officer Mike Salas told MSN. Therefore, the CHP is currently focusing on educating people that even one drink can put others, yourself, and your freedom to drive at risk.
It’s sometimes hard to believe that tragedies can occur in our own backyards, but unfortunately one did occur here in Southern California this 4th.
A 20-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine, Edward Minot Jr. with the 1st Maintenance Battalion, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter that killed 12-year-old Santiago Gaspar in Oceanside on the 4th of July.
The two-car crash that took place around 11 p.m. on Surfrider Way and North Myers Street occurred shortly after Oceanside Police attempted to pull over Minot, who was driving without headlights on. He failed to stop, instead speeding up to a high rate of speed before striking the vehicle within which Gaspar, his six-year-old brother, and an adult driver were in. The driver and Gaspar’s brother were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
One woman who lives near the crash site said the accident sounded like a bomb. Minot, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries was placed under arrest at the hospital.
While the investigation is ongoing, police suspect alcohol and speed factored into the crash.
Statistically, a vast majority of those arrested for suspicion of DUI are first time offenders. After the initial shock fades, the real work begins. There are a host of legal, practical, and financial issues you need to tackle if you were arrested under suspicion of DUI on the 4th of July in California.
Your first move should be to find the best DUI attorney in Southern California. Professional DUI attorneys can find all the weaknesses in the case against you, bolster the strengths in your case, and help you navigate the complex legal system. It’s important to have professionals in your corner who understand what you’re going through and have been successfully defending DUI clients in California for decades.
At the Law Offices of Taylor & Taylor, we offer a free, no obligation consultation with one of our expert DUI attorneys. Everything you share with us is protected by the attorney client relationship, so we can freely discuss your DUI case, evaluate it, and discuss your options.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our expert California DUI attorneys here.
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