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Increased DUI patrols now through the New Year

The holidays are a time of parties and entertaining. At many of these events, alcohol will be present. To ensure that drivers stay safe this holiday season, the police will be out in greater numbers this coming week and on the look-out for possible drunk driving.

Most people don't get behind the wheel with the intention of endangering others, but here's a few things to keep in mind as you plan your year-end festivities.

What increased patrols look like

Police will be present at areas historically known for alcohol-related auto accidents and other issues. Cops will be monitoring drivers for speed, driving safety and observation of the rules of the road.

In addition to placing cops in strategic locations, Montgomery County law enforcement will set up sobriety checkpoints, looking to traffic and collision data to identify key locations. All drivers must pass through these checkpoints and interact with law enforcement.

Ways to minimize drunk driving

To stay safe this holiday season, select a sober driver before attending any holiday parties. Selecting a sober driver ensures that you will make it home safely and avoid the negative consequences of a DUI charge.

If you do not want to risk a drunk driving ticket, and you are not attending a party with friends, you can call a cab or a rideshare service like Uber so you do not have to risk being pulled over.

Finally, if you attend an event in Prince George's County or Montgomery County in Maryland, you have another way to request a free ride home and avoid drinking and driving. The SoberRide program offers free rides home to individuals who have been drinking from December 16 to January 1.

What to do if you are pulled over

If you are charged with a DUI this holiday season, you risk receiving one year of jail time for your first offense, six months or more of license suspension, and a fine of up to $1,000. If you already have two prior DUIs, you face three years of jail time, 18 months of license suspension, and up to $3,000 in fines.

With penalties like these, it's best to plan a sober ride ahead of time. That said, if you find yourself facing the full force of the law, contact an experienced DUI lawyer to protect your rights and driving privileges.

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