Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bars across the country have been shut down, including those in Tucson, AZ. In many areas, this initially led to a decrease in driving while intoxicated (DWI), another name for driving under the influence (DUI). However, some jurisdictions are now seeing drunk driving cases return to pre-pandemic levels, even though bars are not yet open.
More information about DUIs during the pandemic:
Pennsylvania State Police released data about DWI trends since their shutdown order took effect. This information comes from an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer. In the last week of February, before bars closed, there were 420 DUI arrests. After the stay-at-home order started in late March, weekly cases dropped significantly. However, the numbers rose again by late June, reaching 402 during the week of June 20th.
Overall, these numbers are difficult to interpret since they cover only a small amount of time. Fall data may help determine what the long-term relationship will be between COVID-19 and DWI arrests. However, the current information does indicate that an interesting trend is beginning to form.
Experts in the state had various theories for why this may be occurring:
Deni Carise, the Chief Scientific Officer at Recovery Centers of America (RCA), believes the return of DWI cases to pre-pandemic levels may be because more individuals are drinking to cope with stress during the pandemic. Even those who do not typically drink may be turning to alcohol more than they would have previously.
Bars are not the only location where people drink. As other restrictions lift, individuals may be seeing their friends and family again. Alcohol is one way to celebrate during these occasions. If someone drives home after one of these visits, they could be arrested for DWI.
In different areas, restrictions on bars are slowly being lifted. As this happens, many people may be going out again and some are driving home after. Even in areas where bars cannot yet open, restaurants may be serving alcohol or allowing customers to take alcoholic beverages to-go.
Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. Being arrested for drinking and driving can have serious consequences and is stressful no matter when or where it happens. COVID-19 may make this stress even more intense and you may be wondering how the pandemic changes your legal situation. At DUI Defense Team, we are here to help. We can schedule a free in-person, virtual, or phone consultation to discuss your situation and options. We will examine all of the evidence and help you achieve the best possible outcome.