More OWI arrests are made during the holidays, but most judges are not more strict about penalties. They are not more lenient either. Many states have mandatory sentencing laws for drunk drivers. Where those laws don’t exist and judges have more discretion, judges vary on how strictly they sentence.

OWI Arrests Rise During The Holidays

Most states report a rise in OWI arrests of 40% or more during the month of December. The conviction rate is just about the same, so it is not more likely you will be convicted of drunk driving if you get arrested but it is more likely you’ll get arrested and charged.

Why OWI Arrests Increase During The Holidays

There are two basic reasons that OWI arrests reach an annual high during December. First, people are celebrating and do not take into account the dangers of drinking and driving practicing poor judgement. Work parties, holiday events, family holiday gatherings and getting together with friends to celebrate all contribute to the increase of drunk driving during the holiday season.

Secondly, law enforcement uses extra manpower to identify OWI drivers during the holidays. Police often work overtime in December so there are more patrols on the road during peak “drunk driving” hours.

Don’t drink too much and then get behind the wheel. If you intend to celebrate, find an alternative to driving drunk such as a designated driver or alternative transportation such as a taxi or a friend. If you are going to a family gathering, plan to spend the night if that is an option. Since drunk driving arrests skyrocket during the holidays, starting in mid-December, it makes sense to take extra precautions so that you don’t become an OWI statistic this year.

If you feel like you have been treated unfairly during your OWI arrest, it is best to contact attorney services in Cedar Rapids and ask for help.