Do you feel like you’re seeing more police cars or traffic stops recently? Well, there is a likely reason for this perceived increase. Our team at Schweitzer & Davidian explains why you could see more police on the roads, especially at the end of the month.
Seasonal DUI Trends
We are in the thick of the winter holiday season. Many people are traveling, going on vacation, or rushing to get ready for various obligations. Additionally, many holiday activities involve alcohol. Because there are more parties to attend this month, there is usually a seasonal increase in DUI during the winter holidays.
This isn’t the only time of year that DUI spikes in America. Similarly, summer holidays bring about large numbers of DUI arrests. This is especially true over holiday weekends, like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day.
Ultimately, you can assume that DUI incidents and arrests will increase around holidays as people are socializing and letting loose.
Policing This Increase
The police take action to prepare for the increase in DUI during the winter holidays. This is a big reason why you may be seeing more police cars out and about than you are normally used to. The police are aware that DUI rates go up around this time and they increase their patrols accordingly. This typically means more officers are out observing drivers for any indications of impairment, like excessive speeding or swerving between lanes. This increased focus on potential DUI in turn leads to an increased number of arrests – both for DUI and other coincidental findings.
In addition to increasing the number of general patrols, the police will also utilize sobriety checkpoints to stop impaired drivers. A sobriety checkpoint is a station set up on a roadway where drivers must pass through to continue their route. Not all cars are stopped, but all cars who enter must go through. Checkpoints are more formal than other methods of policing. Law enforcement must get explicit permission before setting up a checkpoint. They must also publicize the time and location of the checkpoint in advance. Because there are many requirements of a legal checkpoint, there can be a number of mistakes made that render the checkpoint illegal or invalid. As a driver, you should be on the lookout for sobriety checkpoint notifications and signage.
What Would Cause the Police to Stop a Driver?
There are a number of valid reasons why a police officer would stop a driver for further investigation. Some examples include:
- Vehicle violations, like a broken tail light
- Running through stop signs
- Erratic braking
- Traveling at an extremely slow speed
- Swerving or leaving their lane
While these are all valid reasons for a traffic stop, unfortunately, some law enforcement officers make traffic stops without a legally valid reason. This means that some drivers are victims of illegal stops and possibly illegal arrests. Police officers are not allowed to stop drivers just because they have a ‘feeling’ the driver is under the influence.
What To Do If You’re Pulled Over
First, stay calm. This can be the hardest part, as many people fear what can happen during a traffic stop. However, it’s important to keep yourself steady and maintain your composure. Additionally, physical signs of nerves can make you appear to be under the influence.
Next, be polite. This is another important step as you do not want to cause trouble with the officer. Instead, hand over the required identification and stay quiet.
Always use your right to remain silent. The officer may start asking you questions hoping that you admit to wrongdoing. Do not answer. Instead, say you’d like to use your right to remain silent until you can speak with an attorney.
If you are arrested at the end of the stop, contact a defense attorney as soon as you can. The earlier you receive legal guidance, the better for your overall defense.
DUI Defense in Fresno, California
If you are charged with DUI this holiday season, our defense attorneys at Schweitzer & Davidian are ready to help. Facing this type of charge can be overwhelming and make you feel alone. However, you’re not. Our team can guide you through your case, fighting to protect your future each step of the way. Share the details of your charges during a case consultation; contact us to schedule an appointment.