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St. Patrick’s Day: How to Party Without Ending Up in Handcuffs

Posted by Writing PIs on March 17, 2019

Three Leaf Clover

Many think the top holiday for people getting arrested for DUIs is New Year’s Eve. But according to DUI lawyers we work with, the #1 holiday is St. Patrick’s Day, followed by #2 Super Bowl, and #3 New Year’s Eve.

Here’s a bit of history about St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick and Shamrocks

The earliest known written story about Saint Patrick goes back to 1726, although the legend goes back even further. Saint Patrick used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans, for whom 3 was a significant number. Pagan Ireland also had many triple deities, which aided St. Patrick in his evangelization efforts.

Irish & the Color Green

Green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the Irish Catholic Federation used the green harp flag. Since around the 1680s, shamrocks and green ribbons have been worn by the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, which in 1903 became a national holiday in Ireland.

Although St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a national holiday in North America, it’s a day when people celebrate the Irish culture, which often includes vast amounts of alcohol. Speaking of which, let’s look at the top reasons St. Patrick’s Day partiers get arrested.

NASA photo of Ireland (image is in public domain)

NASA photo of Ireland

Top Three Reasons Partiers End Up in Handcuffs

#1 Drinking and Driving

Here’s a sobering fact: between 2009 and 2013, 276 people died on St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. due to drunken driving accidents (information from TSM, Traffic Safety Marketing). Another sobering statistic: From 2008 through 2012, half of the men killed in crashes on St. Patrick’s Day were drinking and driving (info from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Simple way around this: Don’t Drink and Drive. Go partying with a friend who is the designated driver, travel by taxi, call Lyft or another established driving resource.

#2 Public Intoxication

Although each state has its own definition of public intoxication, below are a few shared elements of the crime:

  • Being visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs while in a public place
  • Appearing to be intoxicated in a public place (that’s right, appearances alone can get you arrested).

#3 Urinating in Public

This includes urinating between parked cars, on walls, even lawns. If you gotta go, then go before you go outside.

Plan Your Ride, Watch Out for Drunk Drivers

A little common sense can ensure you and others have a safe, fun St. Patrick’s Day celebration. From planning your transportation to avoiding drunk drivers, here’s a few suggestions:

Plan How You’re Getting Home Ahead of Time. Be it by taxi, designated driver, public transportation, or one of the numerous sober-drive-home services offered in different cities. For example, here in Denver organizations such as City of Denver, Lyft,  and AAA are providing $13,500 in free Lyft rides on St. Patrick’s Day ($13,500 being the average cost one pays for DUI legal fees and increased insurance costs). For Coloradoans to be eligible for a free ride, the person fills out a form for a free ride credit (click on below image to access the form). Check if your city is doing something similar by visiting your state Department of Transportation, Lyft site, etc.

If You’re Traveling with a Designated Driver, Leave Your Car Keys at Home.

If You See a Drunk Driver on the Road, Call the Police. This could save many people’s lives.

If You See Someone Who’s Drunk Getting Ready to DriveGently take away their keys and help them find a safe way home. Better yet, call a taxi and pay for it upfront.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day.

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the written content requires specific, written authority by the author. All images in this article are in the public domain.

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