Labor Day Means DWI Danger

Labor Day is on Monday and everyone who gets to celebrate is undoubtedly looking forward to it. While a lot of us get to enjoy the day off, law enforcement will be working hard. The police and the highway patrol will be out in full force. North Carolina will be mounting the “Booze It and Lose It” campaign over Labor Day weekend in efforts to catch people driving while impaired.

The holiday campaign means that you should expect to see an increase in checkpoints and more patrol cars on the roads. To give you an idea of the how substantial the likely increase in citations, and how tightly they are cracking down, last year’s campaign involved setting up over 8,000 checkpoints and patrols. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program reports that there were nearly 3,000 people charged with DWIs and almost 100,000 total traffic and criminal violations across the state during the full 2011 campaign. Needless to say, “Booze It and Lose It” resulted in a lot of people losing it. This year’s campaign is sure to mean that a lot of people will be charged with DWI in Raleigh, Cary, really all over Wake County. If you’re driving to the beach along highway 40, 70 or 64 there is almost no chance at all that you won’t see blue lights along the way. You should allow for a serious possibility that you will be stopped.

If you are out driving this holiday weekend, we urge you to be careful and not to take any unnecessary risks. The best move would be not to drive at all after drinking. If you do drive after drinking anything, even if you think you aren’t impaired, be aware that you could be stopped at a DWI checkpoint. If you are stopped by a police officer you must remember, above all, that you have rights. The police may ask you to perform field sobriety tests, potentially including a portable breath test, or PBT, to gauge your potential impairment. You have the right to and should likely politely decline the portable breath test. You are not under arrest when stopped at a DWI checkpoint, and you have the right to say no. You should only take the PBT if you have had absolutely nothing to drink. It doesn’t take much to push you over the legal limit of .08. The police can still arrest you if you decline to perform field sobriety tests or take the portable breath test, but it will make it much harder for them to later justify your arrest to a judge. Check out our video about what to do if you are stopped for a DWI for more precise information.

If the police start asking you questions, your best bet is to politely decline answering any that might incriminate you. Nothing good can come out of saying that you have had a drink that evening, even if it was only one. All the officer hears is that you have been drinking that night. Simply tell the officer that you would prefer not to answer questions without an attorney present.

The “Booze It or Lose It” campaign will saturate the roads with law enforcement. Be careful over this Labor Day weekend and take caution in your driving decisions. If when reading this you took the time to actually watch the video about what to do if stopped for a DWI because you are consciously thinking of drinking and driving this weekend, you would still be better off finding a designated driver, though we do hope that you found the video informative.

If you do drive, be careful. If you are stopped, be smart. If you are charged with DWI, you know what to do . . . call us, the Raleigh DWI lawyers at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC.