Irish or not, a lot of people in our country enjoy going out and raising a beer or three to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Here in Chicago, the holiday can be truly epic. Our city not only hosts the second-largest parade in the country – officials even temporarily turn the Chicago River green.
Bottom line? If you want to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in Chicago, you definitely won’t be partying alone. This year, the festivities may even extend throughout the weekend because the holiday falls on a Friday.
Have fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, but don’t get caught up in all of the craziness. Getting hammered while you’re out and about can have serious consequences – especially if you decide to get behind the wheel. There is bound to be increased police enforcement on St. Paddy’s Day, and you can bet that those officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers.
Don’t End Your St. Paddy’s Celebration with a DUI
- Up to one year in prison
- Up to six months of license suspension
- Between $500-$2,500 in fines
- Community service
Remember, this is just for a first-time conviction without any aggravating factors. What kinds of things does Illinois consider “aggravating”?
- Second or subsequent conviction
- BAC of over .16
- Driving while transporting a passenger under the age of 16
- Driving with a combination of alcohol and other controlled substances
- Driving a school bus
- Getting into a motor vehicle accident that causes harm to others
- Driving with a suspended license
Any of these factors could dramatically increase prison time and fines. But whether your criminal record is clean as a whistle or you have a not-so-perfect past, DUIs should be avoided altogether. After all, driving under the influence of alcohol puts your life, and the lives of others, at risk.
This is doubly true during St. Paddy’s Day celebrations, because partyers will be out in force, walking the streets and bar hopping. The more people who are out and about, the greater the risk.
How To Prevent a Chicago DUI on St. Paddy’s Day
Use the following tips to prevent getting arrested for DUI:
- Take Public Transportation. It’s not glamorous, and will most likely be filled with St. Paddy’s Day partiers. However, Chicago is lucky to have a great public transportation system. Use it to get you from A to B on the cheap, without the risk of getting into a DUI accident.
- Call a Rideshare. If you don’t have Uber or Lyft now, you probably have a friend who is dying to give you a code for a free first ride. Use their code and they get a free ride too – so you have a cheap ride from a sober driver to and from the bars! Avoid bar hopping across town if you want to cut down on the amount of cabs or rideshares you need to call.
- Find Out What’s Going on In Your Neighborhood. Maybe you don’t need wheels to enjoy the St. Paddy’s Day festivities. Find out what’s going on in your neighborhood. If you can walk to the party, then you can walk home (even if you stumble once or twice). Partying in your neighborhood also allows you to get home without any wait or surcharges.
- Stay With a Friend. If you’re headed to a friend’s place for a party and you drive there, see if you can crash there, too. Once you sober up the next morning (or afternoon), you can safely head home. Who knows, you might even get breakfast out of it.
Even if you have already been arrested or charged with DUI, penalties will not be fully enforced until you are convicted. Learn more about what happens next here, then do everything you can to avoid being convicted by calling a Chicago DUI lawyer immediately and working together to craft the strongest possible defense.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.