State patrol and local police across the nation are beefing up their efforts to stop drunk driving. Thanks to the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative, drivers must be more careful while driving home this holiday season.
What to Expect
December 12th–January 1st, drivers can expect to see an increase in DUI checkpoints nationwide. More troopers will be patrolling highways and other roadways and making more arrests. Also, expect to “see” more unmarked patrol vehicles and stops made for distracted driving, or texting-while-driving.
In December 2012, 1,698 DUI fatalities were reported. A third of those deaths were directly linked to drunk driving. Last holiday season, police issued 38,000 tickets, of 630 DUI charges and 1,500 distracted drivers. Records show an increase in drunk-driving deaths nationwide. For this reason, we are sure to see a significant increase in drunk-driving arrests this year.
What to Do if Stopped for a DUI
First and foremost, stay quiet. Politely and calmly follow the officer’s directions. But never offer more information than your name and address. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. Officers are highly-trained to get drivers incriminate themselves to make cases easier for prosecutors. Know your rights, and don’t fall into this trap. You don’t have to say anything without a lawyer present.
It is also your right to refuse a field sobriety test or roadside breath test. These are notoriously unreliable, but officers will use them to gain probable cause. If you refuse, there is a chance you won’t be arrested. Also, in most states, your refusal cannot be used against you again. Unfortunately, the same is not true for the Breathalyzer test or blood alcohol test. The “implied consent” law in most states requires all drivers to submit to blood alcohol testing. A refusal will usually result in the temporary loss of driving privileges, a fine, and possible car impoundment. If you’ve had many drinks and expect the results to show a high blood alcohol content, it might be worth a suspension to avoid a DUI charge on your record.
At the end of the day, it is always safer to have a designated driver. But if you are caught on the wrong end of a DUI stop, remain calm, politely, and quiet. Then, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney who can review your case and prepare your defense.