women drinking lots of wine to celebrate Thanksgiving

If you had too much to drink with friends at home for Thanksgiving or too much wine at Thanksgiving dinner and got pulled over on your way home for driving drunk, you’re not alone. Thanksgiving is one of the biggest days of the year for OUI arrests. But what do you do when you get an OUI on Thanksgiving? There are two main things.

Set Your Expectations

When you’ve been arrested for an OUI on a holiday, especially if it’s your first OUI, you may not know what to expect. It’s important to inform yourself of how the holidays can impact your OUI case and learn what penalties you’re facing if convicted.

How Will the Holidays Impact Your Case?

During the holiday season, there’s a significant increase in crimes of all kinds, but OUIs in particular become exceptionally common during the last two months of the year because of all of the big holidays where people celebrate with alcohol. This means your local courthouse is processing a much higher volume of cases than usual. As a result, you can expect an OUI may  take longer to be processed during the holidays than it otherwise would.

Although individuals charged with crimes are entitled to a hearing within a certain period of time following their arrest, the number of days between your arrest and the deadline for your hearing doesn’t include weekends or holidays. During the holiday season, the window is often extended due to the higher number of days off. 

What are the Penalties for Getting an OUI on Thanksgiving?

While getting arrested on Thanksgiving might feel worse than getting arrested any other day, the penalties for an OUI stay the same all year round. When you’ve been charged with an OUI, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your state’s OUI penalties so you can fully understand the stakes and possible outcomes of your situation. In Massachusetts, the penalties for a first offense OUI include a monetary fine of up to $5,000, a year-long license suspension unless re-education classes are completed, and up to two and a half years of jail time.

Find an Attorney

After being charged with an OUI, the very first thing you should do is find and retain a qualified OUI defense attorney in your area. The spike in crimes at the end of the calendar year means that many criminal defense lawyers have limited to no availability in their caseload. Remember that you are one of many people who were arrested for an OUI on Thanksgiving and that everyone else needs a lawyer too. Moving quickly can help you secure the best possible OUI defense attorney before they’re completely booked.

While your options for an attorney may be limited to some extent by the holiday season, if at all possible, it’s best to work with an OUI defense attorney rather than a general criminal defense attorney. An OUI defense lawyer will be more experienced with cases like yours and will likely be able to achieve a better outcome to your case. You can make sure they’re well-reviewed by checking sites like Avvo and Super Lawyers.

Call Attorney James Milligan

Attorney James Milligan is a specialized OUI defense attorney with over 25 years of practicing exclusively OUI defense. As one of the top OUI lawyers in Massachusetts, he’s board certified in drunk driving defense and serves as the chair of the Massachusetts continuing legal education courses on handling OUI cases. If you’re interested in working with Attorney Milligan on your OUI case, contact him today.

The Massachusetts OUI Survival Guide