Because of an increase in drinking during the winter holidays, the police take extra efforts to stop and arrest impaired drivers. Is the use of sobriety checkpoints common at this time of year? Our team at Melowski & Singh, LLC explains what every driver should know about DUI checkpoints and stops in Wisconsin this holiday season.
Drunk Driving Over the Holidays
The winter holiday season brings lots of love, fun, family, food, and last but not least, alcohol. Many holiday gatherings involve alcohol and most people report drinking more at this time of year than at any other time. Because of this, there also tends to be an increase in drunk driving. The police are aware of this seasonal increase and act accordingly.
DUI Checkpoints: Legal or Not?
A DUI checkpoint is a roadblock set up by the police to catch impaired drivers as they travel on their route. There are often signs leading up to the checkpoint warning drivers that they are entering. Once in the checkpoint, the driver may be randomly stopped regardless of whether or not they have violated any traffic laws. If the officer who stops them believes they are impaired, they may request they take sobriety tests. Ultimately, the driver could be arrested at the end of the stop.
Luckily for drivers in Wisconsin, DUI checkpoints are prohibited by law. The police cannot set up checkpoints to make drunk driving arrests. But, is this true over the holidays? Or are there legal exceptions?
DUI Patrols Over the Holidays
DUI checkpoints are illegal at all times of year in Wisconsin. There are no exceptions for the holidays. However, that does not mean the police won’t take other actions to catch impaired drivers at this time.
Saturation patrols are often used in states where DUI checkpoints are illegal. This is a similar method of monitoring for impaired drivers, but is legal. When using a saturation patrol, the police assign a high number of police officers to stay within a small radius. The officers then look to stop drivers who violate traffic laws. Still, they cannot stop drivers for no reason. The driver must have done something illegal like travel above the speed limit or run through a stop sign.
Saturation patrols are considered to be effective because they focus on a small area where drunk driving is more likely to occur. For example, saturation patrols may be set up within a small radius of a crowded bar area or outside of an event venue. This gives the police a higher chance of stopping and arresting a driver who is impaired.
These same methods may be used over winter holiday weekends as the police try to catch drivers who had one drink too many at their holiday dinners and parties.
Your Rights During a DUI Stop
If you see blue and red flashing lights behind you, you may start to panic. This is especially true if you are not 100% sober. However, it’s important that you can recall and use your rights during the stop.
First and foremost, you have the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination. You do have to provide your license and registration, but you do not have to provide any other information. You especially should not admit to drinking prior to driving. This is the most important thing to remember during a DUI stop.
Next, you have the right to an attorney. Should your stop result in your arrest, you have the right to obtain legal counsel for your defense. Contact our team at Melowski & Singh, LLC as soon as possible.
Holiday DUI Defense in Sheboygan
A DUI arrest can cause a serious wrench in your holiday season. Our team at Melowski & Singh, LLC is dedicated to DUI defense, and we will fight aggressively to get you the best possible case outcome. Discuss your charge with our attorneys today; call (920) 294-1414.