For many people, this time of year means holiday parties, stress and family gatherings, all of which can increase the likelihood that people will be drinking. Because of this, it is a crucial time for Pennsylvanians to be especially aware of alcohol-related offenses, including drunk driving.
To keep criminal charges like DUI from ruining your holidays and more, consider the following points.
Enforcement levels increase
Between now and the new year, Pennsylvanians can expect to see more police on the road. State and local officers routinely ramp up enforcement during the holidays for violations involving seat belts, speeding and drunk driving. Last year, for instance, state troopers arrested 630 people for DUI during a five-day period over Thanksgiving. Departments across the state also set up DUI checkpoints around the holidays.
In other words, it could be more likely that police will pull you over in the coming weeks. As such, be diligent about wearing your seat belt, putting your phone away, obeying traffic laws and getting a ride home if you have been drinking.
Judging intoxication is complicated
It may be easy to tell when someone has had way too much to drink. Knowing if someone is barely below, at or just above the legal limit is much more difficult. It is not uncommon for someone to think they are sober even though they may technically be impaired, and it takes very little for police to suspect a person is drunk.
Therefore, play it safe over the next several weeks. Even if you only have a couple of drinks, do not drive. Call an Uber, get a ride, or wait until the alcohol has left your system. While it may seem unnecessary, refraining from driving when you have been drinking but are not sure if you are legally intoxicated eliminates the fear of being pulled over.
Your rights do not take a holiday
No matter where or when police stop you, you have rights. This includes the right to refuse a search of your car and breath tests. Further, police must still have probable cause to pull you over.
If police violate your rights in the course of a traffic stop or DUI arrest, defending yourself against resulting charges is crucial. If you are arrested for a DUI in the coming weeks, don’t wait until the holidays are over to explore your options. You can contact the Quinn Law Firm for a free consultation at 814-833-2222.