Drinking and Driving During the Holidays: What You Need To Know

What You Need To Know About Drinking and Driving During the Holidays

Are you planning on meeting your buddies for drinks the night before Thanksgiving?

Will the police increase patrols over the holidays?

The holidays are almost here and as if to welcome the holiday season, it snowed a week before Thanksgiving in the Metro Detroit area. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a time to sit back, take a moment, reflect and remember how thankful we are for the many blessings in our lives.

It is also time of year when families get together to celebrate and reconnect. Many of those celebrations include the use of adult beverages. A few facts about drinking and driving in Michigan may surprise you.

Drunk Driving Arrests the Night Before Thanksgiving

What you may not know is that according to the Michigan State Police, the night before Thanksgiving is unofficially known as the “biggest bar night of the year.” It has been considered by some the official kick off of the holiday season and by others, black Wednesday.

Around the holidays, police always increase patrols. So, before you sit down to relax with an old friend or family member, let’s take a look at what you need to know about drinking and driving during the holidays in Michigan.

What You Need To Know About Drinking and Driving in Michigan During the Holidays

  • Michigan is tough of drunk drivers. If you are charged with drinking and driving, a lot will depend on your blood alcohol level. If this is your first offense and your BAC is below .17 here are the costs and penalties you could be facing: a $500 fine, up to 93 days in jail, 360 hours of community service, 180 day license suspension and 6 points on your driver’s license.
  • If your blood alcohol level is above .17 the penalties increase. In the article I wrote, What to Expect When You Get a DUI in Michigan, it was estimated by an insurance company that the cost of a DUI could range from $6,000 – $15,000.
  • A smartphone app cannot be counted on to tell you if you are actually too drunk to drive. Earlier this month in the article, Can a Smartphone App Really Tell If You Are Too Drunk to Drive?, I took a look at two different informal studies about the current smartphone breathalyzer apps out on the market. What I found was the study came up with different conclusions. If you plan to meet some friends for drinks this holiday season, I would not recommend relying on a smartphone app to tell you if you can drive.
  • Driving after using marijuana is still driving under the influence. While many Michigan cities have decriminalized marijuana, the Michigan State Police will charge anyone with a schedule 1 narcotic with the same penalties as drunk driving.
  • If you are pulled over and charged with driving under the influence, you may not know what step to take next. I put together a list of 14 Questions to Ask After Being Arrested For a DUI, to help with just that.
  • If your child is charged with a driving under the influence or other drug related crime and you do not know where to turn, I have put together an article to help. When Your Child is Charged with a Drug Related Crime details what your child is facing and defense options.


The bottom line is that if you head out to the bars to meet some friends for drinks, make sure to designate a driver or arrange for a cab. If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence, make sure to contact an experienced and competent criminal defense attorney right away. Having the right attorney by your side can make all the difference. Please call my office today:

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000