The holidays provide the best opportunity to celebrate festively with family and friends. From seasonal office parties to intimate family gatherings, it’s likely you will attend a range of holiday events. It’s also likely that alcohol will be present, that is why we, at Doubleday Insurance, would like to remind you that December is National Drunk and Drugged Awareness Month.

Here are a few simple tips for celebrating and driving safely this holiday season:

  • Designate a non-drinking driver ahead of time.
  • If drinking alcohol at a party or other celebration, allow at least one hour between drinks. It takes one hour to get rid of one drink from your body (1 drink is equal to a 12 ounce beer, 5 ounce glass of wine, or 1 ½ ounce shot of liquor).
  • Set limits beforehand of the number of drinks to have and stick with it.
  • Alternate drinking alcoholic beverages with soda, juice or water and eat food.
  • Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Don’t ride with someone who is impaired. Use other means of transportation such as a taxi, public transportation or driver who is sober.

Due to the increased number of collisions caused by impaired drivers, Iowa law makers have cracked down on drunk drivers more than ever. If you are convicted of drunk driving and have no prior DUI convictions on your record, you can expect your sentence to include a fine ranging from $625 to $1250, as well as a 180 day license suspension and/or a 48 hour to 1 year jail sentence. This is just the minimum punishment, if you are arrested with a blood alcohol content of 0.10% or higher, the judge may impose even harsher penalties.

Drivers who have a history of DUI typically receive a more severe sentence than first-time offenders. Under Iowa State law, a second DUI conviction carries a $1,875 to $6,250 fine, 2 year license suspension and 7 days to 2 year behind bars.

A third DUI conviction is classified as a felony. As a result, you may be fined $3,125 to $9,375, lose your license for 6 years and spend 30 days to 5 years in jail. A felony conviction will also result in the loss of many of your personal liberties, including your right to vote, purchase fire arms, and obtain a passport.

Any DUI conviction will be permanently reflected on your criminal record, which means anyone who checks your background will learn about your offense. It is possible that a blemished criminal record may disqualify you from certain jobs.

A DUI conviction can also have a tremendous impact on your wallet. SR-22 auto insurance is required for a period of 2 years after a DUI. Some insurance companies charge two to three times more for coverage and some simply refuse to insure at all.

The most expensive price you could pay is…your life! Drunk driving can also cause you to take the lives of others.

We wish you a safe and joyous holiday season!