Did you get a New Year’s Eve DUI?

While you and your friends were out partying it up on New Year’s Eve, your local police force were quietly plumping up their ranks in preparation for the expected onslaught of drunken drivers. New Year’s Eve is considered to be one of the top five biggest drinking nights of the year. Which is why it’s also one of the largest DUI and drunk driving fatality risks of the year.

Thus far, statistics show that 2015 didn’t have more than the average amount of drunk driving incidents, with no unusual spikes in arrest ratios, or increases in the numbers of fatalities. In some counties around the state, there have even been decreases in the number of drunk driving incidents.

And law enforcement has done their part to ensure that the year goes out exactly that way. Which means there were increased patrols and a far greater number of officers on the clock last night. In fact, it was pretty much guaranteed, if you are out and about on New Year’s Eve, you encountered far more police officers driving around than usual. And hopefully with less arrests or fatalities attributed to drunk driving.

According to law enforcement, they are seeing more and more instances in recent years of people who took a more responsible and proactive approach to staying safe. Sgt. Frank Claeys from the Gaylord City Police says that it’s not uncommon anymore to pull over a car full of intoxicated young people, only to discover that the driver is a girl in her pajamas, who got out of bed to pick up her friends safely from the bar.

And the most important part of staying safe, is planning ahead, says First Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police. Waiting till 2 am when you’ve had too much to drink, isn’t the time to start trying to figure out how you’re going to get home safely. That’s when the bad judgment calls are made. And that’s how so many people end up with an OWI arrest on their record and spending New Year’s Day in jail.

We encourage you to always arrange for a designated driver before you head out for an evening of partying. Whether it’s a friend who tags along for the fun while staying sober, or someone you call when you’re ready to call it quits, planning ahead will reduce stress, last minute plans, and poor choices. Alternatively, you could simply budget your night out to include a cab ride home. One other solution would be to get friends together at someone’s home, and plan to have everyone crash there for the night.

There are lots of options for staying safe and ensuring that you don’t start the new year out in a jail cell. But in the event that your best laid plans go awry, we are always here for you. If you happen to get pulled over after one too many drinks, or wake up in the county clink, give us a call. We can help.

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