Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching. The three-day long weekend has turned into the symbolic last chance weekend to celebrate the end of summer and enjoy the good weather before fall begins. There are many backyard barbeques and parties to attend for all to have fun. But being careful while traveling over the weekend should always be a priority. Labor Day weekend is one of the main weekends throughout the year when there are a significant number of arrests made for driving under the influence (DUI). It is hoped that everyone can avoid being one of the DUI Labor Day statistics this year and get home safely.
Given the popularity of Labor Day weekend and the amount of travel on the roads and highways of New Jersey and New York on those days, there are bound to be car accidents and truck accidents that involve DUI cases. Over the past several years, there has been an average of about 400 automobile accident fatalities during Labor Day weekend in the United States. Of those accidents, about a third involved one of the drivers being intoxicated. DUI drivers are a consistent problem during this weekend each year. Nationwide, the police will be extra vigilant, with many DUI checkpoints and traffic stops looking to arrest DUI drivers who are putting people at risk.
There are some basic things that people can do to avoid a DUI arrest but still have a fun-filled Labor Day weekend. No one wants to hurt themselves, their families, or other people on the roads by driving while impaired. Also, people usually do not want to face the criminal, economic, and social consequences of having to go through a DUI arrest and conviction. Drivers should follow these simple rules to be safe when traveling to and from Labor Day celebrations:
- Plan on not drinking while attending Labor Day parties.
- If there is alcohol at the party, stop drinking long before leaving the party so that the alcohol has gone through your system and is not affecting you physically. Drink a lot of water or soda afterward.
- Have a designated driver available who will not drink alcohol at all.
- Call a taxi or use the many ride-sharing services that are available, such as Lyft, Uber, or Sidecar. With these ride-share services being so ubiquitous in most metropolitan areas, and with them being fairly inexpensive to use, there is no excuse to drive drunk.
- Stay off the roads on holiday nights from around 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. because this is the time that many DUI drivers are on the roads and usually when most law enforcement DUI checkpoints take place.
- If a passenger in a vehicle, make sure that the driver has not consumed alcohol. If you cannot confirm this fact, do not agree to drive with the person.
- Just avoid the roads altogether, if possible, on Labor Day weekend. This is the safest way to prevent anything bad happening.
Being pulled over for suspected DUI can be a very scary experience. It can have significant consequences on your life, especially if you are arrested and convicted of the crime of DUI. Specifically in New Jersey, to be convicted of DUI, the driver must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent. There are many ways the police can determine this after at the scene and arrest the driver. What happens during this traffic stop can have long-lasting repercussions. Here are some things to do if pulled over for a suspected DUI:
- If being pulled over, make sure that your car is pulled over safely and in a safe spot. Do not pull over in a reckless manner or pull over in a location that is dangerous to yourself or the police officer. If this is done, it can reflect poorly on the judgment of the driver and the police officer might think the driver is impaired.
- Be silent, or as silent as possible. Try to say as little as possible during the traffic stop. Every time the driver opens their mouth to speak, there is a chance that the driver will give the police evidence to arrest and convict them of DUI. Everything that is said to the officer can and will be used against the driver to attempt to convict them. The driver does not have to give information about where they were coming from or their destination. Nor does the driver have to give any information or excuses for their driving or explanations for anything that the police officer witnessed that justified the traffic stop.
- Be polite. There is no reason to become hostile or angry at the police officer. They are just doing their jobs. Also, if the driver becomes angry or agitated, hostile, or argumentative, the police officer might think the driver is intoxicated. Most officers nowadays wear body cameras that record everything. Also, there are usually cameras on the police cruiser’s dashboard that are recording the entire scene. Therefore, if the driver is acting rude or being aggressive, most likely it is being recorded and can be used against the driver later in court proceedings.
- Refuse a field sobriety test, but do it politely. If the officer asks the driver to take a field sobriety test, the driver should politely, but firmly, refuse to do so. The police officer may threaten to arrest the driver if the field sobriety test is refused. But the driver should not do it because it is just a way for the officer to obtain more justification to arrest the driver for DUI, and the test is not mandatory. Also, usually by then the police officer has already decided to arrest the driver and is just trying to obtain more information to justify the arrest.
- Refuse to take a breathalyzer unless the driver is positive that they have not had any alcohol within the past 24 hours. Again, a breathalyzer test is not a mandatory test and is just a way for the police officer to obtain more information to justify an arrest that he or she has probably already decided to do. In many instances, breathalyzer devices are not accurate and can give false readings.
- If the driver is arrested and taken to the police station, they should continue to remain silent but continue to be polite. Again, everything is being recorded. At the police station, the driver should allow a true chemical sobriety test to be completed. Refusing a test at this time would be more detrimental to the driver than having one completed. A lawyer experienced in criminal defense would be able to dispute these test results. Most people who refuse to take the test receive 10 months of license suspension, whereas people who fail the test generally receive only three months of license suspension.
- As soon as practical, the driver should ask to speak to a DUI criminal defense lawyer. It will probably take a while for this to happen, but the driver will have at least demonstrated that they know their rights and that the request will be part of the record.
Monmouth County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Ellis Law Help Clients Who Have Been Arrested for DUI Charges
Labor Day weekend can be a great excuse to party and celebrate the end of summer, but some people unfortunately party too hard and get themselves in trouble. People can make stupid mistakes, especially when alcohol is involved. But those mistakes do not have to ruin your life. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI offense, contact the Monmouth County criminal defense lawyers at Ellis Law. We are experienced in representing clients who have been arrested for DUI. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Marlboro Township, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.