It’s no coincidence that holidays like New Years, 4th of July, and St. Patrick’s Day have statistically higher instances of arrest compared to the rest of the year. The common denominator? Alcohol consumption. With big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations coming up tomorrow, criminal defense attorney Rebecca Wade discusses how belligerent behavior could lead to charges that have serious lifetime consequences.

Some of the most common alcohol-related charges include DUI, drunk in public, disorderly conduct, and assault. “Drunk in publics are especially concerning for people who are teachers, work with children, work in healthcare, or maybe have a security clearance,” says Wade. “When you work in these fields, you don’t want to have something on your record showing that you are a substance abuser.”

Disorderly conduct is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in up to 12 months in jail. “Now, realistically when you’ve never been in trouble before are you going to get 12 months in jail on a disorderly conduct? Probably not. But a misdemeanor stays on your record for life because in Virginia you can’t expunge convictions.” Public urination is also a Class 1 misdemeanor that can lead to up to 12 months in jail and in the state of Virginia, it is considered indecent exposure.

Wade says some of the most serious offences are assaults. “A lot of people get drunk and get in bar fights. Then there are felony assaults which can take place if the accused attacks a law enforcement officer or injures someone to a point where the charge becomes an unlawful or malicious wounding.”

Wade explains that DUI is another big problem when it comes to holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. Not only are you putting your own life and the life of others in danger, but even if no one is harmed as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol, DUIs are extremely expensive. Not to mention, you could lose your license and your insurance could significantly increase.

While there’s nothing wrong with celebrating St. Patty’s Day, it’s important to be aware of how much alcohol you consume, how you behave, and the consequences that could result from an arrest and legal charges.