WICHITA – Drinking and driving is never okay but Friday night, it’s getting a little extra attention from the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.
Drivers can expect to see a few more deputies on the roads on the lookout for impaired drivers.
Deputies are doing what’s called a saturation patrol all around Sedgwick County.
Their goal is to stop people from potentially harming themselves or others, and to encourage people to find a different way home if they’ve had too much to drink.
“It’s a weekend night so, you know, Friday night, where we generally see more partying, more drinking going on,” said Lt. Lin Dehning with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.
Through a grant funded by KDOT, a few times each year the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office will use four to six off-duty deputies to patrol the county.
They won’t be taking 911 calls and instead will be patrolling areas known to see drunk drivers or DUI-related crashes.
“If it encourages someone to maybe call a cab or catch a ride home with somebody else if they’ve been drinking too much, then we’ve been successful in that too in that we’ve stopped somebody from getting behind the wheel when they’re impaired,” Dehning said.
And while DUIs can have potentially deadly consequences, KSN spoke with an attorney to find out what other costs they might bring.
“Besides risking other lives and your life when you drink and drive, you are also risking your own liberty and your own livelihood,” said Dan Monnat, a Wichita attorney.
Monnat says a DUI can be expensive for the offender.
“It would not be far-fetched to consider the total cost being, even for a first offense, somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000,” he said.
They’ll be facing fines, treatment costs, the expenses of potential house arrest or ignition inter-lock devices and of course, attorney fees and increased insurance premiums.
“No matter how you look at it, drinking and driving is dangerous, legally complex, and expensive,” Monnat said.
Friday night’s saturation patrol will last from 10 p.m. through 3 a.m., but officials say even deputies working their regular hours will continue to be on the lookout for impaired drivers.