Memorial Day weekend is among our most favorite holidays, as it marks the unofficial start of summer. For most southern New Englanders, it’s three days full of cookouts, concerts, motorcycle and boat rides, placing flowers or flags on the grave of fallen soldiers or others we’ve lost, as well as other events with friends and family. You can also count on the weekend being full of DUI checkpoints and a heightened police presence, designed to keep our roadways safe and prevent DUIs/OUIs. According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, Memorial Day Weekend is the most dangerous weekend of all weekends to be on the road due to the sheer volume of cars traveling, the rush to get from one place to another, and the large consumption of alcohol. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that there will be approximately 380 motor vehicle fatalities over the holiday weekend.
We at Sheeley Law want you to have fun, but more importantly, stay safe. Please take the following tips into consideration to keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way:
Be extra cautious and aware – Always buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation and get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue.
Beware of distracted drivers – Rhode Island has a hands-free driving law but that does not mean that people still don’t text/talk and drive. Always be aware of others on the road and drive attentively and defensively.
Allow extra travel time – It is more important to arrive at your destination safely, than to arrive at your desired time. Obey all traffic laws and do not speed. Expect that there will be traffic and it may take longer to reach your destination.
Understand the times of highest risk – The greatest risk is on Monday afternoon and evening, given that alcohol is consumed by many at Memorial Day parties and people will be more fatigued from the long weekend.
DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE – This one can’t be stated enough. In addition to putting others at risk, a conviction for DUI in Rhode Island or OUI in Massachusetts will dramatically affect your life and your lifestyle. At a minimum, you can expect:
You will get arrested
You will have a court date
You will pay various fines
Your license will be suspended
You may go to jail, depending on the severity of your DUI.
You may need to attend a safe driving class
You may need to get an ignition interlock system installed into your car
DUIs can happen to anyone and the punishments can vary, but it is important you know what to expect and your options. As a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney that has represented hundreds of clients in DUI/OUI cases over the past 25 years, I am frequently asked the question, "if I am pulled over for suspected drunk driving, should I refuse to take a breathalyzer and/or blood test?" To learn more about your options and rights, click here.
It is important to know that a DUI arrest does not always lead to a conviction, even if you blew over .08. If you are arrested this weekend, Sheeley Law is on call 24/7 to answer your questions. Contact Attorney Ann Sheeley at 401-619-5555 or Toll Free: 866-435-5000 before you decide to plead guilty.
We at Sheeley Law encourage you to have fun this Memorial Day Weekend, but please celebrate safely and don’t drink and drive.