Avoiding Holiday DUI Charges

Posted on Dec 16, 2015 in DUI/DWI

The New Orleans Police Department has become increasingly aggressive in enforcing drunk driving laws in recent years, with arrests more than doubling between 2008 and 2012. NOLA reports the reason for the elevated arrest levels is stepped up enforcement, including paying more police officers to work overtime and implementing the use of mobile sobriety testing vans.  The levels of enforcement have been so high, the New Orleans Police Department has been described as “embarking on a jihad against DWI.”

While police have increased enforcement efforts year-round, there are certain days of the year when officials believe the risk of DUI crashes is especially high.  These high-risk days include the Christmas holiday, New Year’s Eve, and the holiday weekends surrounding both holidays. Because there are higher numbers of DUI crashes on those days, police are especially likely to use road blocks and other aggressive enforcement tactics to try to identify impaired drivers.

Motorists need to be aware of the added risks of being stopped by police during the holiday season and must understand their rights in order to try to reduce the chances of an arrest. If you do find yourself charged with driving drunk, a New Orleans DUI law firm may be able to help you take steps to prevent the arrest from turning into a conviction.

Tips for Steering Clear of Holiday DUI Charges

Wall Street Journal reports that many people make transportation plans ahead of time to ensure they don’t end up with an arrest or an accident due to impaired driving on Christmas or New Year’s. If you are planning to drink, this is one of the best options to consider.  You should arrange a ride before you actually drink anything because when you have already been drinking, you may overestimate how sober you are. You should also consider having a backup plan, like having the number of a car service readily available, just in case your designated driver ends up being unreliable.

If you do find yourself pulled over or stuck in a DUI checkpoint, the best thing you can do to avoid DUI charges is to be prepared for your encounter with law enforcement.  You should have your license, registration and proof of insurance ready whenever you are stopped and you should answer only the questions you are asked by the officer with polite, short answers. You do not want to accidentally incriminate yourself for any alleged wrongdoing and you should insist upon exercising your right to a lawyer if you are taken into custody.  By having a lawyer come and advise you right away, you will not inadvertently do anything to make it easier for a prosecutor to prove you were driving impaired.

You also need to be aware you are free to decline field sobriety tests and handheld breath tests, but must submit to some type of test of your blood alcohol concentration if there is probable cause to suspect intoxication.

While it is perfectly legal for police to step up enforcement over the holidays, there are times when the behavior of law enforcement ends up being in violation of your constitutional rights. This can be an especially big issue when police are out in full force and eager to demonstrate the effectiveness of holiday DUI prevention efforts.  A DUI law firm in New Orleans can help you determine if the Fourth Amendment was respected in your interactions with police. If not, your attorney may be able to prevent evidence from being used or may even be able to get the case against you dismissed.

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