There is no dispute that the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays are a time of great celebration for families, friends and neighbors all across the Garden State. Yet, even those in the know are sometimes surprised by the number of New Jersey motorists who find themselves on the receiving end of a drunk driving summons at this time of the year.
To be quite frank, when it comes to drinking and driving, state and local police officers will hardly be in a festive mood if they suspect you’ve been imbibing a little too much spiked eggnog or other intoxicating beverage. Whether one is celebrating with relatives, good friends or coworkers, if you get pulled over after having a drink or two, you may find that the patrolman in charge believes that it is better to give than to receive. Just remember few will envy your gift of a DWI-DUI summons this holiday season.
All levity aside, being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated can result in expensive and potentially disruptive penalties. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines, fees and assessments can be accompanied by license suspension, and even jail time depending on the circumstances; and the odds of facing such an outcome can be increased during certain times of the year when the frequency of anti-drunk driving saturation patrols and DWI-DUI sobriety roadblocks are on the rise.
As a New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I see the results of alcohol consumption and motor vehicle operation on our roads nearly every single days of the year. But during the holidays in particular the media is almost constantly reminding the public about the many and varied ways in while drivers can end up accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, doctor-prescribed medications or even illegal substances such as marijuana and cocaine, among others.
If past years are any indication, the coming Christmas and New Year’s holidays will present drivers with more than a few opportunities to be stopped by police. For those unlucky enough to be suspected of being impaired by beer, wine or hard liquor, there may be a chance of an arrest or summons for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol. Offenses for impairment by other substances, both legal and illegal, will of course be possible.
Areas all across the state will be participating in the latest anti-DWI campaign known as “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” which begins tomorrow. Police departments in Mercer and Essex counties, among others, will be cracking down on motorists who drink and drive with the so-called saturation patrols and a variety of sobriety roadblocks. Over in Hightstown, the additional police presence on local roadways is hoped to raise awareness with increased visible enforcement and driver education.
According to news articles, the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative — expected to run from December 6 through January 2 — will showcase the serious consequences of DWI, not to mention that inherent dangers that intoxicated drivers present to the driving public as well as themselves.
Over in Montclair, NJ, local police will also be joining the statewide effort in order to reduce the number of drunken drivers on New Jersey roadways. Based on a statement from officials at the Montclair Traffic Bureau, the effort represents a “critical law enforcement program that can save lives” at a time of the year when drunk driving traditionally increases by almost 10 percent. According to news reports, 19 percent of all traffic deaths in the Garden State were alcohol-related fatalities.
Law enforcement’s suggestions for those who imbibe a little too much during the holidays (or any time for that matter) include taking mass transit or asking a sober friend for a ride home. Spend the night where the activity takes place is another option, according to experts.
Montclair Police Cracking Down on Drunk Driving, Patch.com, December 3, 2013
Holiday Season Drunk Driving Crackdown in Hightstown, Patch.com, December 3, 2013