Getting arrested is NOT a good way to avoid family events during the holidays. I know that we all have certain obligations this time of year. We need to spend money on holiday gifts. We need to see family and friends to share meals and exchange presents. We need to attend holiday parties for work. Some must travel to see family and friends, while others stay home and entertain. Either way, there will be a lot of family in the next two weeks. There will be a lot of expenses in the next two weeks and there will be a lot of stress in the next two weeks.
Now we should probably try to do a little more psychoanalysis of the holidays from the criminal defense and DUI defense point of view. We know that there are increased DUI arrests around the holidays. We know that there are increased domestic violence arrests during the holidays and we know that there are increased theft related arrest during the holidays. Why is this?
Let’s start with the DUI’s. We know that there are increased police patrols out trying to combat DUI’s this time of year. There are a lot of people traveling, going to and from holiday parties and consuming alcohol. Police are tasked with the job of trying to make sure all of those people get home safely. After all, the only thing worse than having to spend time at your in-laws is getting arrested on your way home from your in-laws.
Next comes domestic violence. Too much family often lends itself to too much family stress. There is stress from planning and preparation; stress from seeing people you may not care to see; stress from having to spend money you may not have on gifts and food and drinks for people you may not like.
Finally, there is a marked rise in theft crimes this time of year. I see this increase as having two main sources: Need or desire and stress or impulse control. If we don’t have the money to buy the things we want, we may do things which we will later regret. If we are so stressed out by the triggers that set us off during the holidays, we may act out in a manner that we will later regret.
Knowing this, how do we avoid getting arrested for during the holidays?
- Keep your stress level down.
- Have a plan.
- Pace yourself.
- Don’t try to control things that are outside of your control.
How do we keep the stress level down and avoid spending the holidays in the clink? First, I like to remember that we are all in this together. Remember the feeling in the bottom of you stomach when your wife told you that you were going to your mother-in-laws house for Christmas? I do. Remember that you likely share that feeling with millions of other people just like you. Next, try and think about one or two good things involved with going to see the in-laws. I know at my in-laws there is never a shortage of food. There is never a shortage of dessert. I don’t have to set up. I don’t have to clean up and my responsibilities for holiday meals may be as simple as just bringing wine. Wow! That was 5 good things about going to my in-laws. See, it really works. Now you try it.
I have a plan. My plan is to drink a lot and watch a lot of sports so as to avoid as much contact with family as humanly possible. No, that’s not exactly the plan I had in mind. My plan is a little different. First, if you are going to be drinking, make a plan, ahead of time to not drive. Understand that public transportation may be very difficult during the holidays. Getting an Uber on Christmas Day may not be the same as getting an Uber home from happy hour today. Take turns with your wife being the designated driver. Carpool to dinner with your cousins who live nearby. Host the holiday dinner this year and you won’t have to drive anywhere. It’s a thought.
Pacing yourself is not just about drinking, but we can start there. Drink a lot of water if you are going to be drinking. Eat if you are going to be drinking. Have a glass of water between every drink if you are going to be drinking. Measure your drinks and keep track of what you are consuming if you are going to be drinking.
Next pace your spending during the holidays. Make a list of the gifts you need for family, for work. Maybe there are people who you can cut from your list: Like the idiot that delivers your newspaper late most days or not at all on other days. Then, make a budget of how much money you are comfortable spending on these gifts. Stick to your budget. There are many options for inexpensive gifts. One of my neighbors just brought over a small plate of homemade cookies last night. It was a lovely sentiment that didn’t cost a lot of money, because it didn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Please try to remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: Trying to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Please understand that the holidays will always be the holidays. Family will always be family. We all have one and they all stink. So stop trying to change things that are outside of your control. Roll with the program this year. If you don’t like the food, bring something different. If you don’t like the booze, bring a bottle to share. If you don’t like your family, find something about them that you do like and focus on that. Please join me in trying to make this holiday season great. Grab your ugliest holiday sweater and give it a try. Keep your stress level down. Stick to your holiday plan and your holiday budget. Then look out because before you know it, it will be Valentine’s Day…then tax day….
If you or someone close to you has been arrested for DUI or any other crime this holiday season, call an attorney who can help, call me:
Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-6473 or (888) 764-4340 or
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