Despite its dark history, Thanksgiving is known for being a holiday that brings families and friends together to share a meal, watch football, and enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving can still have a dark side as certain crimes spike during the 4-day holiday weekend. Below, we will discuss the six criminal offenses commonly committed during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Vandalism occurs when a person recklessly destroys or damages someone else’s property without their consent. While vandalism is most commonly committed by juvenile offenders, anyone may be accused of committing this offense. Acts of vandalism can include:
- Trash dumping
- Egging cars or houses
- Breaking windows
- Removing or breaking signage or decorations
2. Disorderly Conduct
During Blackout Wednesday, Thanksgiving Day, and Black Friday, people are often charged with disorderly conduct. In Texas, a person can be charged with disorderly conduct if they knowingly or intentionally:
- Expose their genitals or anus in a public place with no regard for others present
- Get into a fight in a public place
- Discharge a firearm or deadly weapon in a public place
- Discharge a firearm on or across a public road
- Make an offensive gesture in a public place
- Abuse or threaten a person in a public place
- Make unreasonable noise in a public place
There are many types of theft crimes, such as shoplifting, burglary, petty theft, carjacking, grand theft auto, and possessing stolen property. Theft crimes are not uncommon during the Thanksgiving season as people may try to commit thefts to cover the cost of their Thanksgiving dinner or take advantage of empty homes/property.
Real-life examples of Thanksgiving theft-related crimes include:
- In 2015, a teenager from Lytle, TX tried to shoplift four turkeys, sodas, and other dishes that totaled over $200. Using the soda and some toilet paper, the teen tried to hide the costly turkeys in his cart without paying.
- Two people in Seattle committed a Thanksgiving robbery and stole about 200 cases of wine from a local retailer. The wine was valued at over $645,000, and police recovered most of the stolen goods the following Tuesday.
- In 2013, Christopher Sulo (26) was charged with two counts of felony theft after supposedly taking his Thanksgiving hostess’ jewelry after she took it off to cook. The rings he took were valued at about $9,000.
- During Thanksgiving in 2021, Port Arthur, Texas Police arrested a suspect in an assault. At 4:25 p.m., police responded to a disturbance call from a Dollar General where a male suspect had assaulted a shopper and stolen their food and money. The assailant was located near the scene and was arrested.
4. Driving While Under the Influence (DWI) Offenses
After the Fourth of July, the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day accounts for the highest time of alcohol consumption, and research from the Alcohol monitoring System suggests that even monitored DWI offenders increased their drinking during the holiday season by 33%. Many people not only consume a lot of alcohol on Thanksgiving Day but also binge drink on Blackout Wednesday.
With the increase in alcohol consumption, there is also an increase in DWI-related offenses around Thanksgiving week. According to Texas Penal Code§ 49.04, drivers commit a Class B misdemeanor if they drive with a BAC of 0.08 or more or a Class A misdemeanor if they drive with a BAC over 0.15. Drivers can also face more serious charges and consequences if they drive while under the influence and:
- Have an open container of alcohol in their vehicle
- Have a child age 15 or younger in the vehicle
- Get into a collision that leads to serious injury or fatalities
5. Speeding & Other Traffic Offenses
During Thanksgiving week, many people are on the road traveling to friends’ or relatives’ houses or running errands to pick up forgotten ingredients or to cool off after a familial dispute. Unfortunately, many holiday drivers also receive traffic tickets because of driving infractions, including (but not limited to:
- Illegally changing lanes or passing another vehicle
- Running red lights and/or stop signs
- Texting while driving
6. Domestic Violence-Related Offenses
Unresolved conflict or tension (and other factors such as alcohol consumption or anger issues) can lead to fights and instances of domestic violence during the Thanksgiving holiday season. In Texas, family violence can occur when a family or household member commits an act against another that threatens or causes physical harm, bodily injury, sexual assault, or assault. Family and household members include:
- Former or current household members
- Foster parents and children
- Those related by adoption, marriage, or blood
- Former or current roommates
- Former or current romantic/dating partners
Facing Criminal Charges? Contact Our Firm Today!
Attorney Jeter has over four decades of legal experience. If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with a crime, you can trust our firm to help you zealously fight to protect your rights and freedoms. We are prepared to help you mount a personalized defense against a variety of criminal charges, including:
To schedule a case consultation, call 972.330.4050 or reach out online today. You don’t have to fight against your charges alone.