Be Prepared for Holiday Ramped-up DUI Enforcement
During holidays and special events, law enforcement agencies across California ramp up their efforts to stop and arrest drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol. More officers are assigned DUI enforcement during peak Holiday periods and are looking for a reason to contact potential DUI drivers.
Have a Plan for Your Holiday Celebrating
The best thing you can do … (and the cheapest in the long run) is to have a holiday celebration plan where you will not drive if you have used alcohol or drugs. Have a designated driver or put Uber, Lyft, or a taxi on speed dial. If you drive after consuming alcohol or drugs, your reflexes are slower, your judgment can be impaired and you may end up being arrested and maybe even in an accident where you or others are hurt. Don’t end up going to jail and adding your “Celly” to your Christmas dinner plans.
Stopping or Contacting Drivers
Police must have probable cause to stop a driver, which is a reason to believe that the driver has committed a traffic violation or other crime. It could be anything from a broken tail light to turning without signaling. With an accident, even though driving is not observed by the officer, he can still contact anyone involved in an accident for investigative purposes. It is this initial contact when Police look for anything that would indicate the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, nystagmus, balance/coordination issues or admission of drug or alcohol consumption.
Once there is an indication of drugs or alcohol and possible impairment, then the officer can do an evaluation to determine if the driver is impaired. Usually this consists of FSTs (Field Sobriety Tests) and/or a breath or blood test.
In reviewing a DUI case, defense attorneys will review the stop or contact as well as the detention for any probable cause or detention issues which would make the stop or contact unlawful. While most stops and detentions are lawful, there are cases where there is insufficient probable cause or reason to contact a driver.
Subjective Observations Are Subject to Challenge
Police agencies know the importance of having a “good stop” where there is probable cause or reason to contact the driver. Police reports reflect the officer’s interpretation of his/her observations, are subjective to some extent and can have a tremendous impact on charges a driver might face. That is why so it is important to carefully review the reports and look for possible issues in the case.
Remember the Best Defense Is Uber, Lyft, a Taxi or a Designated Driver.
Not being pulled over or being in an accident in the first place is the “BEST DEFENSE”. Make arrangements so you don’t drive if alcohol, drugs or medications are involved in your Holiday Celebrations.