As holidays approach, San Diego-area law enforcement serious about DUIs

With the increase in socializing that comes with the upcoming holidays, people in Southern California should take care not to get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs, including sedating medication.

From 2013 through 2018, over 500,000 vehicles in San Diego County passed through hundreds of sobriety checkpoints, according to NBC San Diego. The station analyzed local data and concluded that eight arrests at each checkpoint, on average, are made by San Diego Police. This means about 3% of drivers passing through checkpoints are arrested.

An officer interviewed by the station said, however, that the main goal of checkpoints is educational, but anyone on the roads on weekends or during the upcoming holiday seasons of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and others should know that sobriety checkpoints are a real possibility and that drunk driving arrests are made. In addition, DUI saturation patrols are specially trained to spot drivers likely to be driving under the influence.

Holiday time is party time

According to alcohol.org, binge drinking is more common during holidays and most people drink more than usual. People may drink too much at work or family celebrations or at special times out socializing. The reasons may be related to celebrating the season with others, but also people drink when holidays bring stress, loneliness or anxiety. Additionally, spending time with family or friends may not always be a positive experience.

The combination of people drinking and more vehicles out on the roads, especially late at night when fatigued, can be dangerous. Have a designated driver, stay overnight where you party or call a ride, Uber, Lyft or taxi rather than risk a DUI. Remember drugs, even legal prescription drugs, can impair your ability to drive and result in a DUI.

Get legal advice ASAP

Anyone in California arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or medication should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The clock starts ticking right away toward an administrative DMV license suspension on an alcohol offense when you are served a pink Notice of Suspension and Temporary License. This is separate from the criminal case. Only 10 days are available to contact DMV to fight the suspension and set a hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles.

An experienced lawyer can investigate and analyze the details of your case and discuss your legal options, including potential defenses. Legal counsel can also appear in Court for you on a misdemeanor DUI and work on your behalf to try to get charges dismissed, reduced or minimize penalties. There may be issues with the traffic stop, detention, search, breath or blood testing, field sobriety tests as well as other aspects of the case.

Be careful this holiday season. Have fun but know your limits. While your lawyer will fight for the best resolution possible if you are arrested or charged, a DUI conviction can have long-lasting consequences. Penalties can include loss of license, ignition interlock device, jail time, fines, classes, probation and a criminal record, in addition to other possible negative consequences that may involve insurance, security clearances, employment, professional licensing and possibly immigration.

The criminal defense attorneys at Christoph Law Offices in North San Diego County represent those charged with driving under the influence throughout Southern California.