Law enforcement routinely increases enforcement and puts together special programs aimed at preventing impaired driving over the holiday season. Michigan State Police indicates an increase in arrests for OWI on key days during the holiday season.
Motorists need to be aware of the days when police are likely to be out in full force watching for any possible signs of impairment. Drivers need to ensure they understand their rights and their options for an effective OWI defense if they are pulled over and/or arrested. Motorists should also make a plan to avoid becoming one of the drivers who ends up arrested for drinking and driving.
Avoiding an Arrest for OWI Over Thanksgiving
Michigan Police report more than 165 agencies have participated in past crackdowns aimed at stopping impaired driving during high-risk holiday times. While often the times of the year which law enforcement focuses most on include Christmas and New Years, there are actually more arrests over Thanksgiving in many areas than on these other days which typically involve high alcohol consumption. For example, Wall Street Journal reported in some areas that almost 200 more arrests occurred over Thanksgiving for impaired driving compared with over the Christmas or New Years holiday.
The higher number of arrests may be explained, in part, by the simple fact so many police are out and looking for impaired drivers. With more police being vigilant for signs someone might be drunk, it is natural more people would be pulled over and subject to an arrest.
An arrest, however, does not have to result in a conviction for impaired driving. People who are stopped and who are subject to arrest over Thanksgiving may raise a wide variety of defenses, including arguing the original traffic stop or test of their blood alcohol concentration were unlawful searchers which violated the Fourth Amendment. A prosecutor must prove impairment to secure an OWI conviction, and if evidence is suppressed because it was collected unlawfully, it may be possible to avoid conviction.
Motorists need to be aware there is a greater threat of getting pulled over on suspicion of OWI on Thanksgiving due to stepped-up enforcement, and so should be sure to take steps to avoid getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
It is important to know your limit and not to drink more than you are permitted before getting behind the wheel. Because it can be difficult to determine when you are too impaired and when your BAC has exceeded permissible levels, it is generally a better choice not to drive after drinking at all. Instead, before you begin your Thanksgiving celebrating, designate a driver who will remain sober and who will take you home or arrange to have the phone number of a taxi or car service ready to transport you back home.
If you do end up arrested, you should also be certain to contact an attorney as soon as practical so you can begin developing an OWI defense strategy.