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Drunk driving arrests spike on St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is well known for its association with alcohol. Texas residents celebrating the popular holiday should choose a designated driver or plan to use a cab company or ride-share service. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that during the first six hours of March 18, impaired drivers cause approximately one-third of all traffic deaths nationwide. From 2011 to 2015, St. Patrick's Day ended in the traffic deaths of 252 people.

Alcohol Monitoring Systems, an organization that directly monitors people with repeat drunk driving offenses and who are under court orders to stay sober, anticipates a 17 percent jump in violations because of the holiday. When St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday, AMS predicts that these repeat offenders will violate their court orders at a rate 50 percent higher than when the holiday occurs on a weekday.

The violations measured by AMS reveal the extent that the holiday tempts people to drink. The organization uses monitoring bracelets that automatically check people for alcohol use every 30 minutes every day of the week. These people know that they will be caught and punished if they drink. Despite this knowledge, violations still rise on St. Patrick's Day.

A conviction for driving while intoxicated could result in a person losing a license, paying high fines or going to jail. Someone arrested for drunk driving has the right to obtain legal representation. An attorney might be able to prepare a DWI defense after reviewing the circumstances of the traffic stop and the procedures used to assess the person's sobriety. Mistakes by law enforcement might invalidate test results and enable an attorney to get the case dismissed.

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