From the end of the November to the beginning of January, law enforcement agencies throughout Alabama are aggressive in their DUI enforcement efforts.
Birmingham DUI defense lawyers know this means you are statistically more likely to get a DUI now than at any other time during the year.
One of the largest campaigns that law enforcement agencies throughout the state are touting is the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” operation, running this year from Dec. 12, 2012 through Jan. 2, 2013. This event is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and derives funding from state and federal agencies in order to subsidize police officer overtime for roving saturation patrols and checkpoints, either on nights and weekends or randomly throughout the course of several weeks.
For the most part, officers are looking for young, adult males who are driving at night. These are the group considered to be primarily at risk of DUI. The NHTS reports that in December 2010, drivers who were between the ages of 21 and 34 accounted for more fatal DUI crashes than any other age group. Of those, 78 percent were male. Those incidents that happened at night tended to be more deadly, with nearly 80 percent of fatal DUI crashes that month occurring between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. During that same time frame, 45 percent of drivers involved in fatal DUI crashes had a blood alcohol measurement of 0.15 percent or higher.
Alabama Code 32-5A-191 addresses drunk driving penalties. Essentially, you can be arrested if you are in “actual physical control” of any type of vehicle while your blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or higher, or if you are otherwise determined to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs to such a degree that you are incapable of safely driving. If you are younger than 21, your blood alcohol content can’t be above 0.02 percent.
A first-time conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,100 and a three-month license suspension.
Obviously, the best way to avoid all of this is not to drink or consume drugs before you get behind the wheel. If, however, you slip up and find yourself being pulled over, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Pull over in a safe spot. The officer is watching your every move from the moment he or she decides to pull you over. If you stop abruptly or in an unsafe place, the officer is going to make a note of that in the report.
2. Refrain from making any sudden movements. Officers are trained to be cautious and on-edge. What you need to do is your best to put him or her at ease by not making any sudden movements and keeping your hands on the wheel where the officer can easily see them.
3. Don’t be rude. Not only would doing so increase your chances of getting arrested, it would increase your chances that the officer will write down every single thing in his or her report to ensure that you get convicted.
4. Don’t respond to questions in which the answer may incriminate you. Officers know you’re anxious, and they use this to their advantage. You are required to provide the officer with your name, license and registration. However, any information beyond that is optional. If the officer asks you where you’re coming from or whether you’ve been drinking, you should not admit to consuming alcohol.
5. The reality is you are likely to be arrested. Field-sobriety tests are subjective and you are not required to submit to a breathalyzer. In most cases, your best bet is to not assist law enforcement in building a case against you. Once you are released, write down everything you can remember about the incident and contact an attorney immediately.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Dec. 12, 2012, Press Release, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
More Blog Entries:
Drugged DUI a Growing Concern for Alabama Law Enforcement, Nov. 26, 2012, Alabama DUI Lawyer Blog