Monmouth County DWI Update: Thanksgiving Holiday Sees Rise in Drunken Driving Arrests for New Jersey Motorists

While the warm weather months are definitely behind us, New Jersey State Police and local law enforcement agencies note that parties and friendly get-togethers during the holidays also bring out the drinker in many drivers. As nearly anyone who drives in the Garden State understands, drunken driving enforcement never really lets up, especially during the peak holiday season.

As DWI defense lawyers serving residents of Bergen, Middlesex, Atlantic and other counties across the state, we are well versed in the tactics and strategies used by state and municipal police officers to secure the arrest of suspected drunk drivers. In fact, anyone who knowingly operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or, for that matter, prescription medication, should realize that the odds of being arrested for DWI or drug DUI can be quite high.

If a police officer witnesses a traffic violation, he or she will usually make a routine traffic stop based on that initial offense, minor as it may seem to the average driver. Once stopped, a motorist will be closely observed for signs of impairment, usually due to consumption of beer, wine or hard liquor. If the patrolman has a reasonable suspicion that the driver of a car, truck or motorcycle is inebriated an arrest is more or less forthcoming.

With Thanksgiving only a day away, and Christmas and New Years holidays just around the corner, police in New Jersey will likely be watching for drivers exhibiting signs of impairment. According to news reports, the night before Thanksgiving has also become a popular time for the bar scene, which also brings out the State Police and even more DWI arrests.

Always a destination for fun and excitement, Atlantic City draws crowds looking for a night on the town. Many bar and restaurant owners look to see the number of patrons swell during this time, serving turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce along with mixed drinks and beer. In fact, according to reports, Thanksgiving has truly become a big draw for casinos and resorts in an area where nightlife already abounds.

Local residents, visitors from other counties as well as college students home from school have made Thanksgiving a holiday that food and entertainment establishments have come to banks on. Not surprisingly, the local businesses in Atlantic City have come to know Thanksgiving Eve as “Black Wednesday,” which in this case has more to do with the conscious or unconscious state of their patrons after an evening of partying.

The New Jersey State police have also noticed this trend over the past several years. According to news articles, citizens in apparently significant numbers are typically on the edge of being “blacked-out” or certainly drunk beyond what state law considers the legal limit (0.08 percent blood-alcohol content, or BAC).

While, historically, Thanksgiving is thought of as a family-oriented time, state and local police departments see this coming Thursday more as a drinking holiday. Based on official statistics, for the ten-year period (2000 through 2009) more than 5,000 people nationwide have been killed in automobile accidents during the Thanksgiving holidays. Police and safety experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that more than one-third of those deaths were drinking-related.

The point that we make here, as drivers ourselves, is to use good judgment and drive defensively this holiday season. If you or someone you know does have too much to drink, look for alternate means of getting home, such as a designated sober driver, bus, train or taxi. There is not sense in celebrating life only to risk becoming just another statistic.

Night before Thanksgiving has become a big night for clubs … and State Police,, November 22, 2011

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