Halloween is an evening of fun for people of all ages. While children seize the opportunity to dress up in costumes, stay out late, and go door-to-door in search of candy, many adults see Halloween as a chance to let loose and party. When alcohol is involved, Halloween can result in more tricks than treats in the form of DUI arrests and the serious penalties that accompany them.
Halloween Drunk Driving Statistics
According to the United States Department of Transportation, 158 people died in drunk driving accidents on the Halloween nights between 2013 and 2017. In fact, fatal drunk driving accidents happen three times more often on Halloween than on New Year’s Eve, the holiday that people most frequently associate with drunk driving.
The convivial atmosphere of a holiday party might already be enough to make people relax and loosen their inhibitions. When you add in alcohol, the anonymity that costumes allow, and the general air of mischief that defines Halloween night, you have a recipe for trouble.
Florida DUI Penalties
DUI penalties in Florida can be rather hefty. If you get pulled over in Florida for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can expect to be fined at least $500 for your first conviction alone, and thousands of dollars more for subsequent DUI charges. Drunk drivers in Florida also risk getting their driver’s licenses suspended; a first-time offender gets their license suspended for six months if their blood alcohol level is above the legal limit of .08, and up to one year if they refuse to take a breathalyzer test or fail to provide a blood or urine sample. Your vehicle may also be impounded for a short period of time, and once you are officially convicted, your license can be suspended for an additional six months to a year.
If you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, you may face months of jail time, even if it is your first offense. Repeat offenders are subject to longer jail terms, larger fines, and lengthier license suspensions. And if your drunk driving caused a death or you were driving with a minor in the vehicle, the consequences will be even more severe. DUI convictions remain on your permanent record and will continue to show up on background checks long after you have served jail time and gotten your driver’s license back. This means that even one DUI conviction can permanently impact your ability to get a job, car insurance, housing, and more.
Celebrate Halloween Safely
Don’t let a DUI charge ruin your Halloween fun. The best way to prevent a DUI is to not drink and drive in the first place. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween safely without putting your life and other people’s lives at risk. If you are going to be drinking alcohol at a Halloween party or other event away from your home, plan ahead so you know how you will be getting home safely.
Your plan could include taking public transportation, taxis, or using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft – some studies indicate that these services have helped to reduce the overall number of drunk driving convictions in the United States. You could also appoint a friend in your group to be the night’s designated driver, walk to and from the party if possible, or plan to sleep over at the party host’s house and drive home in the morning when you are sober.
Remember that pedestrians are at risk of being hit and killed in drunk driving accidents as well, so be careful and aware of your surroundings when you are on foot, and travel in groups.