For most people, Thanksgiving is often associated with family gatherings, festivities, and turkey. For law enforcement, however, it is mostly associated with a massive rise in DUI arrests.
As part of their effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, police have set up DUI checkpoints for Thanksgiving. In most cases, checkpoints are announced beforehand through the town’s police website, local news, or the newspaper.
Legally, the primary purpose of DUI checkpoints is not to catch offenders or hand out DUI penalties. Instead, the checkpoints are implemented to discourage people from driving under the influence.
Often, they cannot pull over people at random. However, they usually set up a neutral system, for instance, every 3rd driver. Once a car is pulled over, the police will observe the motorist and ask questions.
If the police notice signs of drunk driving, the driver will be asked to step out of the car and subject themselves to a field sobriety test. DUI checkpoints are considered helpful in preventing people from driving under the influence.
Some statistics indicate that checkpoints have helped prevent one out of ten DUI fatal accidents.
How to Handle a DUI Checkpoint: Your Easy Guide
- Stay calm. If you have been stopped, it does not necessarily mean you are suspected of driving under the influence. Remain calm and don’t attempt to do an illegal U-turn just to get out of the checkpoint line. You will only be giving the police a ground to pull you over.
- Say as little as possible. There is no need for you to impress the officers by providing unsolicited information, even the seemingly innocent ones. They might be used against you later.
- Be cooperative. The police officer will likely ask for your proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and driver’s license. Be ready to hand them over.
- You don’t have to consent to a search. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, keep in mind that you are not required to agree. In the same manner, you are also not required to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
- Contact your attorney. If arrested for DUI, you must get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
Other Ways You Can Avoid Getting in Trouble This Thanksgiving
- Never get behind the wheel if you have consumed alcohol. The legal norm in most states is 0.08% BAC.
- Refrain from driving if you are drowsy, fatigued, or tired. Driving in those states is considered dangerous and can be similar to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Make sure you always wear a seatbelt. It is also crucial that you require all the passengers to do the same. Ensure you don’t start the engine until everyone is buckled in.
- If drinking is on your Thanksgiving list, ensure you have another means of going home without needing to drive. If not, ensure you have a designated driver.
- Check your car for issues that will cause authorities to pull you over. In line with this, ensure all the tires, lights, and windscreen wipers are functioning accordingly.
- Drive carefully and stay away from aggressive drivers. Make sure you also don’t speed up or drive aggressively as well.
Authorities around the country will often dedicate more officers to DUI patrol on Thanksgiving compared to other typical nights. With several officers looking for drunks, your chances of getting pulled over are higher. That being said, ensure you have a designated driver while you go out and have a great time.