The holidays of Christmas and New Year’s give most Americans a chance to have some time off work, relax, see family and friends and refresh and recharge to start the next year fresh. Sadly, these great times provide unique chances to run into legal troubles that spoil the time and carry over into the next year. Ask any policeman, fraud investigator, or attorney . . . .This blog provides court tips to avoid a normally avoidable “event” and legal trouble you may not have thought of but should!
DUI and Public Intoxication. New Year’s Eve is a notorious time for getting the first DUI. The evening has been fun and festive—and many people drink. Couple that with driving in the dark and while tired (usually it’s after midnight) and you have the recipe for getting pulled over and arrested. The threshold is a low .08 BAC and spending the night in jail and carrying over the New Year with a criminal case hanging over your head is a bad deal and avoidable. Now there is the common designated driver and, well, of course, UBER, so think about it and avoid drinking and driving or riding with a drunk driver. Statistically, you are more likely to get hit by a drunk driver at this time than at most other times throughout the year. So perhaps - party in place and don’t be on the roads. Equally, fun and drinking can also readily turn a joke into a fight and arrest or public intoxication. Drink in moderation, consider your circumstance and avoid a DUI, public intox, and battery charge. And think about whether driving at all on New Year’s Eve is worth the risk. Criminal defense and personal injury attorneys know too well the Scrooge comes out during this time of year.
Theft and Assault. Every seasoned police officer knows of the theft, burglary, car break-in cars, muggings (such as purse snatching) and burglary during the holidays. Since we are focused on the season, we often are not aware of our surroundings. To avoid unnecessary risk during the holidays, don’t walk through a store parking lot with your hands full looking for the car and not paying attention to your surroundings. This is an “invitation” to have your purse snatched or being mugged for your packages. Avoid leaving your home alarm off or inadvertently leaving your house unlocked (routinely criminals go through editions and look for unlocked houses at night). Finally, no matter where you live or visit, keep valuables out of sight in our car. Simply being aware of your situation may well keep you from becoming a victim and losing valuable property.
Custody Disputes. About half of all marriages end in divorce. So, there are a lot of children that are passed between divorced parents during Christmas. Since the time is so special—and made stressful by the addition of child exchanges—there is all sort of legal issues in custody that arise during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. These run the gambit. From parents and step-parents/significant others who got into a physical altercation at an exchange to simply not following the custody order, many parents and those involved in custodial battles deal with arrests, protective orders, and contempt actions during and after the holidays. Think about every situation you are in if you are a divorced parent to avoid this—even if it means giving in. You will regret it next year if you do not.
Identify Theft. During the holidays, we are not in our normal routine. It is easy to forget your wallet, email credit card information, or buy from sketchy online sites. The list is endless. Remember your identity can literally be stolen and create years of problems. Be extra vigilante in what you do that involves giving personal information and using credit cards. Maybe use cash. Equally, the holidays are a key time for phone donation scams. Use common sense, think about what you are doing, and read the many simple tips from banks and credit bureaus on how to keep you identify safe. Maybe buy yourself the Christmas gift of credit monitoring. Like most lawyers handle a bar fight during their legal career, about as many have heard horror stories from prospective clients trying “to get their life back” because they are being sued for a debt they didn’t create.
We hope these simple tips from our practice help you have a safe and sound holiday—and not need a lawyer. Be aware, so you can enjoy the holidays. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who represent clients throughout the state. This material is for general educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice or solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.