Don’t let New Years party turn into a disaster

Everybody loves a fun New Year’s party - a time for being with family and friends,and plenty of good food. Of course, New Year’s Eve means the single greatest party night on the calendar. After a long, stressful year, it’s the perfect opportunity to loosen up. Most of the celebrating consists of silliness and frivolity but all bets are off when partiers make the decision to drive while inebriated. At this point, what started off as a harmless get-together with friends can quickly degenerate into a crisis.

Indeed, holiday revelry can have disastrous consequences when police become involved. Although arrests in general spike during the holidays, there are more DUI arrests on New Year’s Eve than any other day of the year. Particularly at risk are young people who binge drink at a higher rate than the overall population. Otherwise responsible individuals who become intoxicated can quickly lose the ability to make wise decisions. They can become risks to themselves and others when they choose to get behind the wheel of a car, confident that they have everything under control - until they see the flashing red and blue lights in their rear-view mirror.

Even if the intoxicated person avoids a serious accident harming himself and or others, getting arrested and going to jail for DUI can turn a fun evening into a life-changing catastrophe. When this scenario occurs, a bail bond agent is the first person to whom individuals and their families usually turn. While the job of a bail agent is well-known - they post a bond to get an individual out of jail - few of us ever plan on needing their services. For this reason, it surprises many to learn the role they play in offering support and guidance during tumultuous times.

Family members typically panic when they receive that tearful middle-of-the-night phone call from their son, daughter, brother or sister informing them they’ve been incarcerated. Fortunately, experienced bail bond agents will be prepared for this emotional response and know how to calm families down, even as they are explaining their options. In fact, the best ones effectively take on the role of counselors, helping them through what is surely one of the most difficult and painful times of their lives.

Support can come in a variety of forms - perhaps it’s a personal story shared from their own lives or some gentle and heartfelt words of encouragement. No matter what, many bail bondsmen feel their personal involvement with clients is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of their jobs. Most bail agents realize how important it is for the people they’ve bailed out to comprehend the gravity of being arrested. Almost every individual understands they’ve committed a terrible lapse in judgment once they’re sitting in a jail cell. A good number of those arrested for DUI may have underlying problems with alcohol and being taken into custody can represent a wake-up call for them.

For example, a person receiving a DUI, depending on the state, may also lose their driver’s license, find it difficult to rent an apartment or house or may find their ability to find a job in the future severely impacted. In addition, they may permanently lose the right to vote and become ineligible for professional licenses (such as those for accounting, plumbing and electrical work or serving as an insurance agent), while college students might be subject to the forfeiture of any scholarships they have been awarded.

Whether it’s a big New Year’s Eve bash or just another Saturday night party, many intelligent, well-intentioned adults who are otherwise good, responsible citizens, can make poor decisions, especially when too much alcohol becomes a part of the equation.

Eric Granof serves as vice president of Corporate Communications for AIA/ExpertBail. The AIA family of companies is the nation’s largest underwriter of bail and has been partnering with agents across the country for over a century. Formed in 2003, AIA is an alliance of the industry’s leading insurance companies Allegheny Casualty, International Fidelity Insurance Company and Associated Bond.