What’s scarier on Halloween than a potential encounter with ghosts and goblins?
How about police lights in rear view mirror and the very real possibility that you could be arrested, hauled off to jail and face serious criminal charges? Perhaps even more horrifying, there’s always the chance that your costumed mug shot will be selected as great entertainment for your local news outlet.
Our Birmingham DUI defense lawyers know that police agencies thrive on such celebratory holidays because it gives them an opportunity to flex their overtime muscles and be a highly visible presence in the community.
The National Highway Safety Administration reports that in 2011, when Halloween fell on a Monday, approximately 44 percent of crashes that night involved a driver whose blood-alcohol level was 0.08 percent or higher. Between 2007 and 2011, approximately 175 people were killed in DUI crashes nationwide on Halloween night.
Many times, after the trick-or-treaters are tucked in, police will simply sit outside bars or events were it’s known alcohol is being served, waiting to pounce as soon as someone starts up a vehicle or pulls out of the parking lot. This is sometimes effective, but occasionally, the officer will skimp on reasonable suspicion. If your defense lawyers can prove the officer lacked that prior to the stop, prosecutors may be forced to drop the case altogether.
Another popular holiday approach is DUI checkpoints. Officers will often exploit these opportunities to press for permission to search vehicles for evidence of drugs, weapons or other items that may result in additional – possibly more serious – charges. Decline to have your vehicle searched. They may do it anyway, but your refusal may be grounds to later suppress whatever evidence they find.
In years’ past, authorities have relied on federal funds to help them secure overtime hours to make such operations possible. Alabama authorities have yet to announce whether they will engage in such efforts, but it won’t hurt motorists to be prepared just in case. This means first of all arranging your transportation plans ahead of time if you plan to drink.
However, if you do find yourself staring back at those flashing red and blue lights, you need to be prepared for that too. You need to know that you are under no obligation to divulge to the offer where you are going or where it is you were coming. Lying is a bad idea, but so is offering up any information pertaining to how much you have had to drink or if you have consumed any drugs that night.
The officer may speak rudely to you or attempt to intimidate you. Recognize that this is part of their strategy to get you agitated and therefore boost the evidence against you. Try your best to maintain your cool and keep your statements to a minimum.
Understand that if you are under the age of 21, you can be considered intoxicated behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of just 0.02 percent. Depending on your size, that can be less than one drink.
If police do arrest you, make it clear you don’t wish to answer any questions without first speaking with an attorney.
Police Boost Drunken Driving Patrols For Halloween, Oct. 25, 2012, CBS Detroit
More Blog Entries:
Police Background in Birmingham DUI Cases Can be Key, Oct. 9, 2013, Birmingham DUI Lawyer Blog