Historically, there tends to be an increase in impaired driving over St. Paddy's Day. The police are out in force looking for impaired drivers so make sure that if you plan to go out drinking, you have a way to get home safe.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a number of suggestions for drivers to get home safe after a night out drinking, including:
- Designate a sober driver,
- Use public transportation, or
- Use Lyft, Uber, or a taxi to get home.
Increased DWI Patrols on St. Patrick's Day in North Carolina
The North Carolina Highway Patrol and other agencies regularly participate in St. Patrick's Day drunk driving awareness campaigns. These campaigns, like the “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, are supposed to educate drivers about the dangers of impaired driving and let them know that police patrols will be looking for drunk drivers around the holiday and the weekend prior to St. Patrick's Day.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, over half of all nighttime fatalities on St. Patrick's Day involved drunk driving. As a way to reduce DWI-related fatalities, law enforcement may increase patrols or set up roadside checkpoints to identify impaired drivers and get them off the road.
Troopers or the police look for indicators of impaired driving or any traffic violation to justify a traffic stop. Traffic violations that may be a reason to get pulled over may include:
- Leaving a parking lot at night with headlights off,
- Failure to properly signal a lane change,
- Rolling through a stop sign,
- Going over the median markers, or
After the police or officer stops the vehicle, they may further look for any other indicators of drug or alcohol use, including:
- Odor of alcohol on the driver's breath,
- Open bottles of alcohol in the vehicle,
- Smell of marijuana from the driver,
- Slurred of speech,
- Bloodshot eyes, or
- Contradictory statements about where the driver was coming from or where they were headed.
Losing Your License After a DWI Arrest
Among the penalties for a DWI are a fine of up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours, up to a maximum of 60 days in jail. However, for many people, the hardest part of a DWI conviction is losing their license to drive. An administrative license suspension can make you lose your driving privileges even before you get your day in court. If you have been arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, act quickly to preserve your chance to challenge the administrative license suspension.
North Carolina DWI Defense Attorneys
At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped drivers and their families deal with criminal driving charges to stay out of jail and keep their driver's license. Contact us today in Shelby for a consultation.