Increased DUI Enforcement During the Holidays
The holidays are here, which means more celebrations, events, and gatherings with friends and family – much of which will involve alcohol. While the holidays are certainly a time for enjoyment, they have also become notorious for alcohol-related accidents, including drunk driving wrecks on public roads and highways throughout the nation. According to NHTSA statistics, holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, and the days and weeks surrounding them see some of the highest rates of car accidents and DUI arrests of any time of the year.
Because there is a vested interest in keeping communities safe during the holidays, law enforcement agencies across Reno and the state of Nevada commonly increase their efforts to crack down on motorists who drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. To accomplish this, they use a number of tools and tactics, including:
- Putting more officers on patrol, especially during holidays, nights, and weekends when drinking is most common.
- Specialized task force enforcement involving officers who are focused on stopping vehicles driven by motorists displaying signs of intoxication, including unsafe speeds, unsafe lane changes, swerving, and other traffic infractions.
- DUI checkpoints involving law enforcement agencies that have the ability to temporarily stop motorists and conduct limited administrative investigations without probable cause. Checkpoints are commonly set up around holidays, and at times and locations where drinking is likely to occur. In addition to increasing DUI arrests, checkpoints also allow law enforcement officers to arrest motorists without a valid driver’s license.
Increased periods of DUI enforcement, including those during the holidays, are driven by law enforcement agencies and other government offices that are intent on making arrests. Although these tactics are critical to public safety, they can have their drawbacks, especially when overzealous law enforcement officers prioritize arrest numbers over their obligations to treat individuals fairly and abide by special rules and procedures when making stops, conducting searches, and arresting drivers for DUI.
Increased enforcement or not, law enforcement officers must abide by the law when making DUI arrests. This includes their obligation to ensure citizens are free from unlawful searches and seizures by having a valid warrant, reasonable suspicion, or sufficient probable cause to stop, detain, investigate, and arrest suspects. Should they violate this Fourth Amendment right, any evidence they obtain as a result of an unlawful search and seizure would be inadmissible in a criminal case – which makes the prosecution’s goal of obtaining a conviction exceedingly difficult. In many cases, unlawful searches and seizures can result in a dismissal of charges.
Being aware of your rights when stopped under suspicion of DUI is important, but it should come as no substitute to putting yourself in the best possible position to avoid law enforcement contact and an arrest. If your holiday plans involve the consumption of alcohol, our team at Joey Gilbert Law wants to remind you that safety should be your number 1 priority. Protect yourself and others and avoid a holiday DUI by taking steps to plan for a sober ride, call a taxi or Lyft / Uber, or stay the night at the location where you plan to celebrate.
Unfortunately, even the most conscientious and responsible individuals can find themselves in trouble with the law, especially when law enforcement officers want to increase DUI arrests during the holidays. When an arrest does happen, remember that you have the right to defend yourself against the charges and penalties you face, as well as the administrative repercussions to your driver’s license during DMV hearings. At Joey Gilbert Law, our Reno DUI lawyers are available 24/7 to help local residents whenever they have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, including misdemeanor and felony DUIs. To discuss your case and learn more about our services, contact us for a free consultation.