During the holiday season, there’s a spike in the number of crimes committed and arrests made. OUIs are no exception. November and December see more OUIs than any other time of the year. So if you get an OUI on Thanksgiving, what does that mean and what can you expect? Here’s what you can expect.
No Penalty Differences
Contrary to some expectations, the legal weight of your OUI charge doesn’t change depending on the date or occasion. While many factors can influence what type of charge you face or how strict your sentencing is with an OUI, such as your BAC level, how fast you were going, and if any children were in the car, holidays have no impact on the penalties you face for your charges.
Process Delays and Disruptions
However, just because getting a DUI on Thanksgiving doesn’t carry different penalties than any other OUI, doesn’t mean that getting charged on the holiday won’t affect your case. Because there is a statistically significant increase in crime during the holiday season, the courts are often overloaded, causing systems to get backed up. The extra days off and decreased staff availability during the holiday season furthers this delay.
While all persons charged with a crime are legally entitled to a hearing within a reasonable period of time, that time period is inevitably extended by the number of holidays and court closures. Additionally, hearings must be scheduled for a day and time that is viable for the defense, the prosecution, and the presiding judge. With an increased number of active cases in the court system, everyone’s calendars are busier and it becomes more difficult to fit hearings into the schedule.
This scheduling difficulty also extends to attorney availability. Higher than usual numbers of OUIs during the holiday season means that DUI defense lawyers have fuller caseloads than is typical. This can make finding an attorney, especially one who is well-qualified, much more challenging. If you receive an OUI on Thanksgiving, you should begin looking for an attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney Joseph Higgins
With over a decade of experience practicing law, Joseph J. Higgins exclusively takes OUI, DWI, and DUI defense cases. In his practice, he has earned honors and accolades such as being named a Super Lawyers rising star, receiving a Client Satisfaction award from the American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys, and collecting nearly 150 five-star reviews from clients.
Contact him now to schedule a free case consultation with Attorney Higgins.