Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Be safe and smart this Thanksgiving holiday to avoid a DUI

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is a time for gathering families and friends together to share a meal and express our gratitude for all that the year has brought.

But it is also a time where alcohol flows quite freely, even before the big day itself. Thanksgiving Eve has earned the term "Black Wednesday" for all of the drunk driving arrests it generates for law enforcement all over the nation.

What's behind Black Wednesday arrests?

It's really very simple. Before bowing heads and saying thanks with relatives on Thursday, restless college students, young couples in from out of state as well as others of all ages who are just in town for a day or so typically like to mingle with old friends and quaff a few drinks.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with that practice, problems develop when these drinkers depart from the bars and climb into their cars. Those without designated drivers take not just their own lives into their hands, but the lives of all drivers and passengers with whom they share the road.

Traffic is high on Black Wednesday

That puts an awful lot of people at risk, as Black Wednesday is typically a travel day for those heading back home for the holidays. Even those taking to the friendly skies or riding the rails of Amtrak still have to be picked up at airports and depots, and ferried to their final destination for the holiday the next day.

This combination of impaired drivers and heavy traffic can quickly turn deadly, especially if inclement weather conditions get added into the mix.

Disaster comes in many forms

One doesn't have to cause a fatal collision in order to derail an otherwise promising life, however. An arrest for driving while intoxicated on Black Wednesday can be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

For instance, college students with athletic scholarships can have their tickets to a free ride effectively canceled on the heels of a DUI arrest. Those in the legal, medical, teaching or transportation fields could see their professional licenses suspended or even permanently revoked.

At the very least, it's an embarrassing predicament to find oneself locked up in jail on Thanksgiving morning. Having to make collect calls from jail to relatives asking to be bonded out is enough to cast a pall over the holiday for everyone.

Party smart on Black Wednesday

If you are planning to be in Richmond for the Thanksgiving holiday, plan ahead to avoid a collision or DUI arrest. Arrange for a sober friend or relative to act as designated driver during the festivities, or add local Lyft or Uber drivers to your cellphone contacts.

If you do find yourself on the wrong side of the law, remember to preserve your rights against self-incrimination. Admit nothing to the police and ask to speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately.

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