There are certain times of the year where DUI-related accidents, collisions, and fatalities tend to spike, and most of those times are around the holidays. Southern California law enforcement has, for years, worked hard to crack down on alcohol and drug-related fatalities in a number of ways, and their efforts have slowly but surely been paying off.

DUI-related fatalities are some of the easiest deaths to avoid; if nobody drives drunk, alcohol can’t inhibit their ability to drive. Most people don’t drink and drive, but some still do, and law enforcement throughout the Los Angeles area have been, and will continue to be, keeping an especially sharp eye out for anyone exhibiting signs of driving under the influence this holiday weekend, as well as through the beginning of next week.

The punishment for getting a DUI in Los Angeles is steep – even if it’s your first offense. Typically, a first-offense carries with it a fine of between $390 to $1000. However, there are also several “penalty assessments” that can, and will, increase the cost of the DUI fines many thousands of dollars. There is no mandatory jail sentence for the first time you get a DUI as long as there are no aggravating factors (injuries, property damage, etc.). However, it’s still possible to spend anywhere from 48 hours to 6 months in a Los Angeles County jail if there are. Additionally, you’ll be facing a mandatory period of at least 6 months where your drivers license is suspended.

When someone is injured or killed as the result of a DUI, the penalties take a sharp increase. Vehicular manslaughter is a common charge, but murder has also been charged in these cases. It all depends on the circumstances.

If you decide to drink while you’re celebrating this holiday weekend, don’t drive, and don’t get in the car with anyone who has been drinking.