Law enforcement officers in Georgia expect to be busier than usual during alcohol-heavy holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, cracking down on offenders and preventing drunk driving accidents. This year, was no different. In fact, it was a bumper harvest of sorts for police officers in downtown Athens who lodged a total of 268 criminal charges for a range of offenses, including drunk driving.
Those charged included drivers as well as their passengers, and included charges for violations like drug offenses and outstanding warrants, while others were cited for failure to wear seat belts.The crackdown was part of a special St. Patrick’s Day enforcement involving some 50 troopers manning at least seven different checkpoints. The crackdown is named "Operation Rolling Thunder," and last year it was used to rein in drunk drivers on four University of Georgia game days. This year, officers were expecting several arrests, given the fact that drinking is so much a part of the St. Patrick’s’ Day tradition, but even so they were unprepared for the large numbers of arrests.Officers had warned jail authorities to expect a larger than usual flow of guests, but Clarke County jail has only one fingerprint system, and jail officers ended up dealing with more numbers of offenders than they were prepared for.Most of those arrested were forced to spend many hours in jail before they could be bonded out.
Law enforcement officers tend to have their hands full during busy holidays, especially those that involve plenty of drinking and merriment, like Thanksgiving and New Year’s.The numbers of people drinking and driving tend to peak around New Years Eve, which is arguably the most alcohol-heavy holiday of the year. St Patrick’s’ Day however must rank close behind.While no one wants to play party-pooper, it’s a fact that the number of alcohol-related car accidents increase exponentially during a holiday. That’s why crackdowns like Rolling Thunder are essential – to make sure that those who have tempered their enjoyment with responsible drinking behavior, are not made to pay for those who have been stupid enough to tank up and slip behind the wheel. The St. Patrick’s Day crackdown in Athens received plenty of complaints from "victims" who were "made" to wait 20 hours before being bonded out, and lodged in crammed cells that were full of other likeminded DUI offenders.For those who whine about being made to wheeze into a breathalyzer and have their holiday end in a jail cell, Atlanta car accident lawyers would have one simple piece of advice – don’t drink and drive.