The holiday season guarantees more of two things each year: car accidents and highway DUI sobriety checkpoints. Not surprisingly, the two are related. Police set up more traffic stops to catch anyone who might be a hazard to others on the road, and motorists who lose track of their eggnog hit the streets in large numbers.
While it is inarguably good to prevent car accidents, there is an arguable downside to increased checkpoints along major highways. Namely, police are more likely to make arrests based on their discretion, rather than hard evidence, because they are subconsciously assuming that more people than usual will be dangerously intoxicated behind the wheel. This is possibly one of the reason why driving under the influence charges spike in November and December.
To avoid being handcuffed while at a holiday DUI checkpoint due to an overzealous officer, keep these hints in mind:
- Sobriety: First of all, you should only operate a motor vehicle when you are sober and not distracted. You should never get drunk and attempt to drive while still intoxicated. Your health and that of those around you is not worth waiting a few more hours or spending some money on a cab ride. The easiest way to stop a DUI arrest is to be completely sober when you drive.
- Plan ahead: Sober drivers can still get arrested for a DUI if a police officer at a checkpoint suspects intoxication. Even if you are not told to pull over at a checkpoint, the whole ordeal can be a huge time sink. If you want to spare yourself a needless wait in a line of cars, check ahead of time where sobriety checkpoints will be over the holidays and plan a route around them.
- If you live in Birmingham, Alabama, you can probably expect a sobriety checkpoint at all major off-ramps along the I-65, I-20, I-459, and I-59.
- Be respectful: Police officers at checkpoints are looking for both drunk drivers and dangerous drivers. Motorists who often fall into these categories act aggressively, rudely, or curtly at traffic stops. In order to distance yourself from potential suspects, be kind and respectful to the officer. Comply with orders within reason but don’t say or do anything that could be self-incriminating. You will find that law enforcement officials are just doing their jobs and just want to return home to their family for the holidays like everyone else, so try not to give them a hard time for stopping you.
I Got Arrested at Checkpoint – What Now?
Of course, all the best laid plans cannot guarantee that you won’t be arrested for a DUI and hit with serious criminal charges. If you do find yourself in legal trouble, contact Tidwell Law Group, LLC at your first opportunity by dialing 205.536.7770. Our Birmingham DUI attorney can hear your case during an initial consultation and recommend what you do next to protect your rights and driving privilege.