New Year's Eve is just around the corner. And just as you can count on college bowl games, a large crowd in Times Square, and plenty of champagne, you can also count on law enforcement officers making many New Year's DUI arrests.
New Year's Eve is, of course, one of the heaviest drinking days of the year. After all, what else are people supposed to do but drink as they wait for the clock to strike midnight?
As a result, officers will be out in full force to stop those who are driving under the influence. So as you prepare to celebrate what happened in 2012 and what will happen in 2013, here are three reminders about New Year's DUI patrols:
DUI checkpoints are legal. Although they tend to be controversial, DUI checkpoints have survived most legal challenges. This is true even in some states where statutes require an officer to have reasonable suspicion of intoxication before initiating a traffic stop.
DUI checkpoints may go mobile. If a stationary DUI checkpoint was not enough to worry about, you should be aware that some law enforcement agencies have adopted a strategy in which they will overload an area with patrol cars and stop any driver who shows signs of intoxication. These roving DUI patrols can, as their name implies, move from place to place and catch would-be drunken drivers who may otherwise attempt to drive around a stationary checkpoint.
Drugged driving is illegal too. Everyone knows it's illegal to drink and drive, but you should be reminded that it's illegal to take drugs and drive too. This is true even in states like Washington and Colorado which recently enacted laws that allow recreational marijuana use. Many states also prohibit driving while under the influence of certain prescription medications as well.
With these reminders under your belt, here's hoping you have a safe and enjoyable New Year's celebration. Remember that the best way to avoid a New Year's DUI is to not drink (or do drugs) and drive. And if you must drink, make sure you have a designated driver.