‘Black Wednesday’ Marks the Unofficial Start of holiday DWI Season

Most Americans are familiar with the retail colloquialism "Black Friday," the intensive shopping event the day after Thanksgiving when consumers flock to stores across the country. Not as many people are aware of "Black Wednesday," at least not that name for it.

Also known as "Blackout Wednesday" in many law enforcement circles, the evening before Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest party nights of the year. Consequently, it has also become one of the times you are most likely to be slapped with charges for driving under the influence.

More drunk driving arrests than even Christmas or New Year's in some areas

The night before Thanksgiving has a special combination of attributes that have led to its popularity amongst revilers. College students and young professionals typically head home for Thanksgiving, making it a convenient time to catch up with old classmates and friends. Most people get Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week off from work, ensuring several solid days of lounging and eating to beat a hangover with ease. And, in many places, Black Wednesday has become an event in and of itself, with bars offering drink specials and lively crowds on par with New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day.

Crowds aren't the only thing Black Wednesday has in common with New Year's: drunk driving is at an annual pinnacle, as are DWI enforcement efforts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in four out of the last five years for which data is available, Thanksgiving weekend surpassed the New Year's holiday in the number of traffic fatalities related to alcohol consumption.

Black Wednesday partiers are not only at risk of being involved in a traffic accident, they are also more likely to find themselves facing down the serious consequences of a drunk driving conviction. Many localities stage DWI crackdowns the night before Thanksgiving that continue throughout the weekend. For example, Pennsylvania arrest data from 2010 show that troopers in that state made 412 drunk driving arrests over the Thanksgiving weekend, compared to 197 over the Christmas weekend and 267 over New Year's.

Talk to a criminal defense attorney if you are facing a drunk driving charge

Black Wednesday is just the start of a heavy DWI enforcement period that runs through New Year's Day. Every year, New Jersey and other states hold formalized drunk driving crackdowns through the holidays; the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign runs from Dec. 13, 2013 through Jan. 1, 2014 this year.

As you kick off the holiday season on Black Wednesday with your family and friends, remember that planning a sober ride is always the best idea. But, if you do find yourself in trouble with the law after having one too many, don't let a simple mistake ruin the memories of your holiday season.

There are many ways you might be able to fight a DWI charge, such as challenging the breath test result or proving that the officer did not pull you over for a valid reason. If you end up being arrested for drunk driving during the upcoming holiday crackdown, get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney to explore your legal options.