The California Highway Patrol (CHP) will be out in full force for the holidays this year, having ramped up its enforcement of driving under the influence (DUI) over Thanksgiving weekend and continuing to crack down on roads and highways statewide.
In late November, state police had a “maximum enforcement period” scheduled from 6:01 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 23) evening through 11:59 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 27) night. During that time, the agency scheduled all available officers to patrol duty to encourage safer travels for motorists and their passengers.
The days on and around Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the busiest times for highway traffic, up there with Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. More cars on the roads means a higher risk of accidents occurring. And issues like distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, inclement weather and equipment failures all contribute to dangerous crashes throughout California and the rest of the country.
Law enforcement officers’ primary concern over the holiday season, however, is drunk driving. Many families consume alcohol with their holiday dinners, and with more people likely having time off around the holidays, they tend to have more opportunities to go out and grab drinks at bars and restaurants. More people drinking means a greater chance of impaired drivers out on the roads. As a result, many people will need the services of a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney during and after the holiday season.
Know your rights if stopped at a DUI checkpoint
With law enforcement authorities ramping up their DUI enforcement this month, it’s important to be aware of your rights if you find yourself at a DUI checkpoint. The following are some key tips from experienced Los Angeles DUI attorneys:
- Questioning: Police officers may briefly stop you and ask you certain questions. You are under no legal obligation to answer these questions, but keep in mind that lack of compliance could constitute just cause to perform a search of your vehicle or your person.
- Searches: Officers may not search your motor vehicle unless they have probable cause that you are under the influence of alcohol—unless, of course, you agree to the search. One of the best pieces of advice a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can provide is to never consent to a search of your vehicle, even if you believe you have nothing to hide.
- Probable cause: What exactly constitutes probable cause at a DUI checkpoint? Typically, state law allows police officers to search your vehicle if they smell alcohol on your breath or if they see opened intoxicant containers in your vehicle, among other circumstances. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer can provide you with more information on probable cause at DUI checkpoints.
Stay safe this holiday season, and try not to get behind the wheel after drinking. Should you need legal assistance after a traffic stop, however, get in touch with a Los Angeles DUI defense firm as soon as possible.
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The attorneys at the Omofoma Law Firm are experienced DUI lawyers who can help you fight your charges. As top criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, including Huntington Park, Alhambra, and Monterey Park.
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