Criminal Law Article

Saint Patrick's Day in Arizona

*Please be advised that the article below remains on the site for informational purposes only and may contain information that is no longer current.

Why Are We Worried About Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday honoring the death of Saint Patrick that falls on March 17 each year. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is known as a drinking holiday, where the streets and bars are filled with people looking for a good time. However, excessive drinking can lead to a variety of woes, including sexual assault, driving under the influence (DUI) charges or accidents, or even death. It’s imperative to understand the effects of alcohol and the risks associated with drinking too heavily or getting behind the week while intoxicated.

Saint Patrick’s Day and DUI’s

During Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, 2014, there were almost 4,000 arrests in Arizona. Of those 4,000 arrests, 233 involved drunk driving, which is higher than the previous year. During that time, 81 if those DUI arrests involved extreme blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, indicating that those individuals should never have considered getting behind the wheel. Ten individuals under the age of 21 were also arrested for DUI.

In Arizona, you are susceptible to being caught driving under the influence, especially during drinking holidays such as Saint Patrick’s Day. Arizona law enforcement uses tactics such as DUI patrols, increased focus on impaired drivers and checkpoints to catch those who are driving while intoxicated. The number of officers on the road is increased, officers are extra vigilant of impaired drivers, and checkpoints allow officers to stop and question those who are driving.

Alcohol Poisoning From Binge Drinking

Receiving a DUI or causing an accident is not the only fear when it comes to Saint Patrick’s Day. Alcohol poisoning is greatly associated with binge drinking, and could lead to emergency room visits or death. In Arizona in 2013, 2.5% of all emergency room visits and 4.5% of inpatient hospitalizations were related to excess alcohol use. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which, when taken too much, slows the breathing and can lead to serious problems. At 0.10% BAC, your movements and speech become clumsy. At 0.20% BAC, you’re extremely drunk and 100 times more likely to get into a traffic accident. Once an individual reaches 0.50% BAC, they could enter into a coma or even die. Individuals are much more likely to experience alcohol poisoning or adverse effects of alcohol when they are binge drinking, something that occurs widespread on Saint Patrick’s Day.

How to Stay Safe

In order to keep yourself and others safe on Saint Patrick’s Day, be informed of how to keep yourself safe. Designate a driver before the drinking even begins. Eat food before and while drinking, and slow down your drinking to avoid alcohol poisoning. Be sure to drink non-alcoholic drinks, especially water, in between alcoholic beverages.




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