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DUI can make for an unlucky St. Patrick's Day

Are you feeling lucky? With St. Patrick's Day here and gone once again, the imagery of leprechauns and pots of gold has Nebraskans feeling charmed - and that's no blarney. With 15 percent of people claiming Irish heritage and thousands more celebrating across the state, St. Patrick's Day is one of the most popular holidays on the calendar.

But, since March 17 fell on a Friday this year, the risks associated with celebrating are greater than in years past. Binge drinking results in higher rates of driving under the influence. This behavior creates a danger for others on the road and leaves drivers who choose to get behind the wheel after drinking subject to potential arrest and criminal charges.

How does binge drinking lead to DUI?

Holidays tend to encourage binge drinking. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines "binge drinking" as five or more drinks in two hours for men and four or more drinks in two hours for women. While most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent, they can underestimate the effects of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.

Binge drinking is dangerous because its effects may not be felt until alcohol reaches the bloodstream. Overconsumption delays your body's natural urge to stop, which can lead to poor decision making such as drinking and driving.

St. Patrick's sobering statistics

266 drunk-driving casualties were reported on St. Patrick's Day from 2010 to 2014. 75 percent of these fatal accidents involved a driver who tested at twice the legal limit of 0.08 blood alcohol content. Because binge drinking can delay the effects of alcohol, people who think they are good to drive could soon be over the legal limit.

To avoid the risks of binge drinking, safety experts encourage St. Patrick's Day partygoers to stay hydrated, keep themselves accountable to friends and plan in advance for a sober ride home. Who you choose to look out for you when inhibitions are lowered can be the difference between responsibility and a rap sheet.

Prepared with the right knowledge related to binge drinking and the dangers of driving under the influence, the luck of the Irish may be on your side. However, if you felt the pinch of the law this St. Patrick's Day, a criminal defense attorney can provide valuable strategies to ensure your Constitutional rights are upheld.

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