Many people know that DUI arrests increase over the summer. But did you know that DUI arrests also peak around the winter holidays, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? Our team at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. is here to explain how DUI is handled differently at this time of year so that you, as a driver, can be knowledgeable and prepared.
Things To Consider When Driving During the Holidays
Increased Police Patrols
You may notice more police out on the roads than in previous months. This is because there is often an increase in police presence around the winter holidays. Law enforcement knows that more drivers take chances and drive after drinking at family and friend gatherings during this time of year. Therefore, the police set up more active patrols to be on the lookout for signs of impaired driving.
The police may stop and question a driver if:
- The driver ignores street signs
- The driver is swerving
- The driver is erratically speeding or braking
- The police see the driver actively drinking while driving
- There is probable cause to make a traffic stop
Because the police are aware that DUI tends to happen more frequently during the holidays, this may make them more apt to pick up on signs of impairment when really, there are none. For example, the police officer may be quick to attribute nervousness or confusion to impairment when the driver was really just anxious to be pulled over but is sober. These situations happen more often than one might think.
Sobriety checkpoints require advanced approval and planning, and the police often utilize this type of crime control on major holiday weekends. A sobriety checkpoint is a police-enforced roadblock where drivers pass through and may or may be stopped. If they are stopped, the driver will be closely monitored to see if they give any indication that they are under the influence. For example, if the driver is slurring their words during the initial interaction. If the officer believes the driver is impaired, they may be asked to take a breath test or field sobriety tests.
Drivers should know that in a sobriety checkpoint, they have the right to remain silent. Use this right to protect yourself. Additionally, know that not all checkpoints are legal. Sobriety checkpoints must be set up and executed perfectly to be considered valid. If you are arrested after going through a checkpoint, our team can look into the details to ensure the checkpoint meets necessary legal standards.
DUI Under the Legal Limit
Something that all drivers should know as they prepare for holiday gatherings is that they can be charged with DUI even if a breath test result shows they are under the legal BAC limit. This is because DUI law states that a driver can be charged and convicted for driving under any amount of alcohol that inhibits their ability to operate the vehicle. Therefore, if you’re planning on having just a drink or two before driving, know that this can result in an unexpected arrest.
Do DUI Stop and Arrest Protocols Change During the Holidays?
You may be wondering if the police have more discretion and leniency at this time of year in order to stop more impaired drivers. The answer is no, they do not. All of the same protocols must be followed, no matter the time of year or circumstances.
DUI Defense in Miami, Florida
If your holiday season is interrupted with a DUI arrest, contact our team at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A.. We will look into every detail of your case to determine the best defense strategy. We have helped thousands of clients face a variety of criminal charges, and we are well-equipped to handle your case. Share your situation with our team during an initial consultation, call us to begin: (305) 985-6640.