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What to do if You Get a DUI on New Years Eve

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

New Year's Eve is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road in the United States. With alcohol consumption so commonplace at holiday parties throughout American cities, it comes as no surprise that rates of alcohol-related car crashes skyrocket this night. While Illinois as a whole ranks as one of the safest states on New Year's Eve any major city, Chicago included, can be an extremely hazardous place to drive.

If you should find yourself charged with a DUI on New Years Eve, you will want an experienced DUI lawyer building your case as soon as possible. Many cities crack down particularly hard on drunk drivers at this time of year and you shouldn't expect much leniency in your case. Contact one of our experts at Dohman Law Group today to get started putting together the strongest defense possible.

What You Need to Know About DUI Charges in Illinois

Illinois blood alcohol concentration has a legal limit of 0.08% when driving. The legal limit in Illinois is 0.08, which means the level of alcohol in your blood can't be at or over that level or you'll risk getting a DUI. Having a lower BAC is not a "get out of jail free" card, however. A court can still convict you with a BAC as low as 0.05 if the prosecutor can present evidence showing that you were impaired even with the lower blood alcohol level.

What Should You Do If You're Accused of a DUI?

Do not answer any questions the police ask you if you have been accused of drinking and driving. Politely request to speak with your attorney instead, and wait for them to arrive. 

Your lawyer will be able to give you the legal advice that will help you get the best outcome possible for your specific case. In order to do this, they will ask you for details of what occurred leading up to and during your arrest. Do not lie to your lawyer or leave anything out thinking it will look bad for you. Your lawyer cannot build a proper defense for you without knowing the specifics of your case. 

What to do if You Get a DUI on New Years Eve

DUI Searches and Refusals

You are guilty of drunk driving in Illinois if you are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Once you have been pulled over an officer may try to prove your BAC through one of several means, including a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. Police officers can also request blood or urine samples as evidence of your BAC. 

The state of Illinois has implied consent for DUI searches, meaning that if you have been lawfully arrested by an officer you automatically consent to a chemical test to determine your BAC. In practical terms, this means that refusing a breathalyzer test is often a bad idea. The police officer will not force you to take the test if you refuse unless they have a warrant, but you will face an automatic suspension of your driver's license for your refusal separate from any penalties you may face if you are convicted of a DUI. 

Learn More: How to get Your License Back After a DUI

New Year's Eve Statistics

A Harris Poll looking into the behavior of adults during the holiday season shows some of the realities of alcohol use on New Year's Eve. Of those polled, 16% said they definitely drink more than normal during the holidays, with 50% saying that alcohol was a part of family gatherings, most popularly as a way to reduce stress and anxiety. More than half of those polled revealed negative consequences from drinking over the holidays, with notable figures including:

  • 10% were involved in a car accident due to alcohol impairment
  • 13% faced a DUI charge
  • 16% had sex with someone they later regretted
  • 24% blacked out with no recollection of what happened

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists drunk driving deaths as significantly higher on New Year than any other day of the year. Between 2011 and 2015 62% of New Year's auto accident deaths were attributed to drunk drivers. During the same period, the normal percentage of deaths on any other day was 35%.

Additionally, a drunk driver on New Year's Eve tends to have a significantly higher BAC than your typical drunk driver any other day. In Illinois, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher

People seem to drive even more drunk than normal on New Year's Eve as well. In any state, it's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, but nearly 3/4 of New Year's traffic fatalities collisions involved a driver with a BAC of 0.15%.

While there is still considerable room for improvement, it should be noted that drunk driving traffic deaths and alcohol-related crashes as a whole have been falling since the early 80s. Between public attention and peer pressure, the numbers have been getting better.

Effects of Blood Alcohol Level on Your Driving

BAC is a measure of the alcohol concentrated with your blood at the time it is measured. A driver impaired by alcohol or drug use can suffer from reduced reaction time and lowered motor control, which can threaten the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. 

Here are some generalized effects of different BAC levels:

  • 0.020-0.039%: You still have full coordination, but experience a slight euphoria. You will feel slightly more relaxed, but without the depressant effects of alcohol.
  • 0.040-0.059%: You feel more relaxed, warmer, and have lowered inhibitions. Slightly impaired judgment and memory will be common.
  • 0.060-0.099%: You will have impaired vision, speech, balance, and reaction time. You will display poorer judgment, self-control, and reasoning.
  • 0.100-0.129%: You will have significantly impaired motor functions and loss of judgment. Your speech will be slurred, and your balance and reaction time will be much worse than usual.
  • 0.130-0.159%: You will suffer major impairment of your motor functions and display a distinct lack of physical control. You vision will blur, your balance will have worsened further, and you will begin feeling unwell.
  • 0.160-0.199%: You will feel increasingly unwell, and may begin to experience nausea. 
  • 0.200-0.249%: You will need help walking, and display major cognitive decline. Your nausea will increase and you may vomit. Blacking out is likely.
  • 0.250-0.399%: You will experience alcohol poisoning and a loss of consciousness.
  • 0.40%+: You will slip into a coma with a risk of death from respiratory arrest.

BAC Time Factor

The only proven method for lowering your BAC is time, despite what you may hear. Home remedies or popular methods for sobering up do not show any evidence of actually working. The following will give you an idea of how long it can take to lower your BAC to a safe level:

Hours Passed Since First Drink123456
Subtract from your BAC0.0150.0300.0450.0600.0750.090
What to do if You Get a DUI on New Year's Eve

Help Lower the Odds

You can help prevent drunk driving and alcohol-related injuries this New Year's Eve by following the recommendations from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: 

  • Don't drink and drive. Ride share services, public transportation, designated drivers and more are all easy and practical ways to get around if you have been drinking yourself.
  • Plan ahead. This goes hand in hand with the previous tip, if you're planning on drinking make sure you know how you'll be getting home safely.
  • Don't let your friends and family drive under the influence. Help them find a ride home and keep them and others safe by not letting them get behind the wheel.
  • If you host a party make sure your guests leave responsibly, with a sober driver. 
  • Buckle up and drive carefully. You might be sober, but that won't keep other drivers for getting on the road under the influence of alcohol. Wear your seatbelt and use caution while you are on the road.
  • Call the police or highway patrol if you see an impaired driver. Even if they pass you without incident, they could cause an accident, or even a fatal crash for others. 

Related: How to Beat a DUI Charge

Hire a DUI Attorney

If you are charged with a DUI this holiday season, contact a DUI attorney at the Dohman Law Group. You will be facing serious criminal penalties, particularly if your accident involved a fatality; and you will need expert assistance to build an effective defense.

An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer will move to have certain evidence dismissed from your case and knows the best ways to go about achieving this result. Contact the Dohman Law Group today to schedule an appointment for a free case consultation.

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