Some holidays are associated with heavy partying—New Year’s, Fourth of July, and St. Patrick’s Day, to name a few. On these holidays and through the holiday weekend, police departments are known to set up check points to stop and charge alleged drunk drivers. This St. Patrick’s Day, Huntsville police arrested five drivers, impounded six vehicles and issued 78 citations. It is likely that drivers throughout the state were aggressively targeted on St. Patrick’s Day, as well. While law enforcement agencies see stop points as an effective way to curb drinking and driving, they can also infringe on the rights of drivers and the accused.
Throughout Alabama, law enforcement agencies have taken more aggressive action to stop drinking and driving. This means more surveillance, tracking, check points, stops and eventually arrests. For the accused, the process can be overwhelming, even surprising, especially if drivers have not faced criminal charges previously. Our Birmingham DUI defense attorneys understand the challenges faced by DUI defendants. We are also committed to helping those arrested for DUI minimize charges and penalties.
According to reports, Huntsville police set up surprise DUI checkpoints targeting drivers who were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. The surprise stop checkpoint led to numerous arrests, citations and charges. Festivities surrounding the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, and while it may have come as no surprise, many drivers were still unprepared for the stop. DUI stop checkpoints must be made in accordance with every driver’s 4th Amendment search and seizure rights. In the event that you were illegally pulled over, any evidence obtained during the stop can be thrown out.
Alabama State Justice Department reports that almost 15,000 people were arrested for DUI in 2013. Law enforcement agencies have continued to take an aggressive approach against alleged drunk drivers and ramp up their efforts during the holidays. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 269 people have been killed on St. Patrick’s Day between 2007 and 2011. Though the statistics are alarming and may justify more law enforcement on the road, no risk of accident justifies the violation 4th Amendment rights.
Every DUI case demands a throughout investigation. Your defense will depend on the circumstances of your arrest, what evidence officers may have collected that support any suspicion of drunk driving, whether breathalyzer and blood tests were accurately administered and any other information that may support your defense. Remember that even if you were drinking before you got behind the wheel, you need an advocate to ensure that you are not over charged or over penalized for an offense.
A drunk driving charge could result in a night in jail and an impounded car, but a DUI conviction will have much longer lasting consequences. Upon conviction, any driver could lose their license, be sentenced to jail time, and suffer a damaging criminal record. Consulting with an experienced advocate to review the facts of a St. Patty’s Day checkpoint arrest and charge is in your best interests. Even if you cannot get your charges dismissed, you may be able to get your penalties or sentence reduced.