With the Fourth of July holiday comes increased DUI enforcement

At this exact moment, countless people across Massachusetts have one eye on the clock, eagerly counting down the hours until their shift ends and they are free to enjoy the weekend, which will be a long one for many of them owing to the Fourth of July holiday.

While many people have travel plans that will take them out of state to visit family and friends, many others will be sticking closer to home, enjoying backyard barbeques, neighborhood gatherings, parades and, of course, firework celebrations. 

It goes without saying that alcohol will be featured at many of these events. While there's certainly nothing wrong with unwinding with an alcoholic beverage or two, it's important to understand that local and state law enforcement officials will be out in full force over the holiday weekend looking to make drunk driving arrests.

In the event anyone finds themselves tempted to have just one more beer, glass of wine or mixed drink before getting behind the wheel, they should know that the penalties for driving under the influence are fairly severe here in Massachusetts -- even for first offenses.

First DUI conviction  

  • Up to two-and-a-half years in jail, and/or a fine of anywhere from $500 to $5,000
  • A license suspension of one year
  • Possible participation in an alcohol education program

If this seems harsh, consider the consequences for a second DUI:

Second DUI conviction

  • Anywhere from 60 days to two-and-a-half years in jail, and/or a fine of anywhere from $600 to $10,000
  • A license suspension of two years
  • Possible participation in an alcohol education program

The purpose in sharing the foregoing information is not to cause people unnecessary alarm, but rather to impress upon them the need to play it safe over the holiday weekend from appointing a designated driver or using a car service to simply staying put for the evening.

In the event you do make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after having one drink too many and find yourself under arrest, it's important not to panic and consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.  

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