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Avoiding drunk driving over St. Patrick's Day weekend

Law enforcement throughout Pennsylvania will be cracking down on drunk drivers over the St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that on St. Patrick's Day in 2016, drunk drivers caused nearly 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. In the first six hours of March 18, drunk drivers were involved in more than two-thirds of all deadly accidents.

St. Patrick's Day is a popular holiday in cities throughout the state with many celebrations and parades. Drivers are warned to watch out for pedestrians who may be under the influence. Law enforcement may be able to take drunk pedestrians into custody as well.

According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, law enforcement is looking for signs that people are driving a vehicle under the influence of any kind of substance. This may not be limited to alcohol and could also include illegal drugs, prescription medication or even over-the-counter cold medicine.

Drunk driving charges may have significant consequences even if it is just a first-time offense. People may lose their licenses, which could affect their ability to attend school or go to work. There might be fines and even jail time. However, there may be defenses against charges of driving under the influence. It might be possible to challenge the accuracy of the Breathalyzer or blood test. Some evidence might be dismissed if a person's rights were violated, or, in some cases, the case could be dismissed entirely. Another option might be a plea bargain. This involves a person pleading guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a lighter sentence. An accused individual might also plead not guilty and go to trial.

Source: The Pike County Courier, "Don't bet your luck on it: Impaired driving is deadly driving," 3/13/2018

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