DWI Arrests Spike During the Holidays in Minnesota

Between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, 40% of traffic fatalities each year in Minnesota are linked to drunk driving.

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Holiday Drunk Driving

Every year, the Holiday season accounts for a significant spike in drunk driving accidents across the country. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 285 fatalities related to drunk driving between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in 2018. Most of these deaths were 100% preventable by not drinking and driving.

In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in DWI crashes nationwide. In Minnesota, 480 drivers were arrested for DWI over the Thanksgiving holiday, and 117 drivers were cited for DWI between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. In 2017, there were nearly 25,000 people cited for DWI on Minnesota roads, and 2,656 were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Every holiday season, Minneapolis drunk driving lawyers see a rise in accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by drunk drivers.

According to Drugabuse.com, 28% of Americans admit they drink more during the holiday season. December has been the deadliest month for DWI-related traffic fatalities every year since 1999. Research shows that a spike in holiday drunk driving is related to:

  • Social events and holiday parties
  • Family gatherings
  • Restaurant and bar festivities
  • Holiday vacations and trips
  • Alcoholic holiday gifts
  • Time off from work or school 

In Minnesota, law enforcement agencies gear up for drunk drivers during the holidays. Police officers patrol roads and highways more aggressively during the holiday season because of spikes in DWI offenses. In 2018, a public safety campaign over the holidays resulted in more than 2,700 drunk driving arrests statewide. Over 300 Minnesota law enforcement agencies, including the Minneapolis Police Department and the University of Minnesota Police Department, worked together to reduce the number of holiday drunk drivers on Minnesota roads.

Minnesota law enforcement officers can arrest a driver on suspicion of DWI even if he/she has not been drinking. In Minnesota, DWI “driving while impaired” can be applied to a person who is taking legal prescription drugs or a person who is overly fatigued. The call is left to the arresting officer’s discretion. A Minnesota DWI arrest and conviction comes with steep fines and jail time. A drunk driving lawyer can often get DWI charges reduced or dismissed. 

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.