It seems kind of cruel for police to set up DUI checkpoints during the holidays. They clog up already busy streets, making it difficult to get where you’re going in time. They put lots of innocent people through an unnecessary and invasive check. Sometimes, those same innocent people may even find themselves charged due to procedural or mechanical errors.
The reality of DUI checkpoints, however, is that they reduce the amount of drunk driving accidents on the road and save citizens’ lives. As for begin needed during the holidays – with lots of people traveling and even more going to parties where drinking occurs, the simple fact is that there are more drunk drivers on the road and a higher risk of traffic fatalities at this time of year.
That doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to a checkpoint, though. If you use the following tips, you’ll be able to enjoy this holiday season without getting stuck at a DUI checkpoint.
Tips for Avoiding DUI Checkpoints
If you encountered a DUI checkpoint recently, you might think that you won’t see another one for a long time. This, however, is not true. In fact, Florida puts up sobriety checkpoints more frequently than any other state.
In particular, you should watch out for DUI checkpoints on Christmas and Christmas Eve and especially New Years Eve.
There’s an app for that. It would be useful to know where DUI checkpoints are being held so you could plan out your routes ahead of time, right?
Waze, a popular navigation app for rideshare drivers, allows users to communicate and warn other drivers of hazards or traffic delays on the road, including the presence of police or DUI checkpoints. The app even rewards users when they make reports.
It’s not a guaranteed way to avoid the long waits at a DUI checkpoint, but it doesn’t hurt to download the app and give it a quick check before you plan your route home.
Check the web before you leave the house. This one is similar to Waze, but rather than having to download an app for your phone you just need to go online.
Where? There are several sites out there where people can post about sobriety checkpoints, detailing not only when and where they are located, but also describing things like the size, delay, and so on. Two of the better ones are roadblock.org or duiblock.com.
Knowing where checkpoints are ahead of time can help you plan your route around them and keep from getting stuck in the mess. However, just as with Waze, it is important to remember that there is no guarantee that users will cover every single checkpoint.
Plan on one party or bar per night. It’s tempting to bar- or party-hop during the holidays when there are multiple parties and multiple people that you want to go see. But the more often you are out on the road between events, the more likely you will run into a DUI checkpoint.
Worse, if you have a drink then drive to the next place several times in a row, it is more likely that you will end up driving when your BAC is over the legal limit. Whether you’re worried about the frustration of getting caught waiting at a sobriety checkpoint or actually getting a DUI, one thing that drastically lowers your chances is to choose one party or bar per night and stay there.
Make arrangements to crash at the party. Law enforcement knows when people are more likely to be partying and drinking and plans checkpoints accordingly. If you drove to a party and want to avoid those checkpoints, wait until the morning to head back home.
This has the added benefit of being safer in two ways. One, there will likely be fewer drunk drivers on the road the next morning. Two, if you have been drinking, sleeping over will give the alcohol more time to leave your system.
Make arrangements to host the party. One of the benefits of hosting the holiday party is that you don’t have to make any driving or accommodation arrangements at the end of the night. This also gives you more control over who leaves your house after a few drinks.
For the safety of your family and friends, you can take the keys of anyone who had some of your world-famous eggnog and open your house for people to crash for the night. Your guests will thank you the next morning for allowing them to all have a safe and happy holiday.
What If You Do Get Caught – and Charged – at a Sobriety Checkpoint?
Waiting in a DUI checkpoint is annoying, but there’s something a lot worse that can happen: you could get charged with a DUI!
There are all kinds of reasons why this might happen. Maybe you had a few beers and didn’t eat as much as you should have. Or you thought you were fine, but the breathalyzer disagreed. There are even all kinds of ways that you might be mistakenly charged.
Whatever your situation, it is important that you fight back, because getting a DUI will do more than ruin your holiday – it could cost you thousands of dollars. If you find yourself up against a DUI charge this holiday season, speak to a Florida lawyer immediately.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.