Happy Hour. An hour – or two or three – in the afternoon when bars and restaurants offer drinks at discounted prices, sometimes with free appetizers. You wouldn’t think a little marketing gimmick to attract customers during the slowest hours of the day would be controversial, but for years, cities, counties, and states have banned or imposed limits on happy hours. The bans and limits are based on the notion that the cheaper the alcohol, the more likely it is that people will drink excessively and try to drive a car. Although Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) supports the complete abolition of happy hours, very few states impose bans today. In July, Illinois reversed a 25-year ban on happy hours, and in 2012, Kansas threw out a ban that had been in effect there for two decades. It’s not entirely clear that happy hour bans save lives or even reduce excessive drinking. An op-ed column in the Boston Globe several years ago said this:

“But if we really cared about saving lives, we would pay attention to what works. Look at Kansas, which recently repealed its happy hour ban but passed a law requiring DUI offenders to install in-car breathalyzers. The result? Drunken driving fatalities declined from 138 in 2010 to 92 last year. Punishing bad behavior works better than punishing everybody.”

California doesn’t have any bans on happy hours, but thanks to a law passed in 2010, anyone convicted of DUI in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento, or Tulare County is required to install an ignition interlock device (IID). In other jurisdictions, a convicted DUI offender may be ordered to use an IID in any case where a judge deems it appropriate. If you’re accused of DUI in Orange County, you’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer immediately. The consequences of a California DUI conviction – even for a first offense – can be quite harsh, and it’s worth it to fight the charge. Good attorneys routinely prevail for their DUI clients in southern California. If you’re charged with DUI, speak to an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer as quickly as possible.