Memorial Day is the beginning of “100 Deadly Days of Summer.” According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there are a number of days during the summer that have higher than normal rates of impaired driving accidents. Generally, the summer drunk driving arrests begin with Memorial Day and end with Labor Day. Many law enforcement agencies carry out increased patrols during Maximum Enforcement Periods (MEPs).
Maximum DUI Enforcement and Summer Holidays
During the summer, there are a number of opportunities for people to let loose and celebrate. Especially this year, after the prior summer had most gatherings and celebrations cancelled because the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to take hold across California. However, getting together to party can increase the risk of drunk driving accidents.
According to the Automobile Association of America (AAA), “fatal teen crash rates show drinking and driving, speeding, and distraction are among the top killers on the road during summer.” Drinking and driving was a “major factor” in 17% of fatal teen crashes during the summer from 2013 to 2017.
Police departments across California focus on some of the bigger summer holidays to focus resources on finding and arresting drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. MEPs usually involve multiple law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol (CHP), police departments, and sheriff's departments. Summertime MEPs generally include the weekends surrounding:
- Independence Day/4th of July
- Labor Day
For example, the Memorial Day MEP ran from 6 p.m. Friday, May 28 to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 31. According to the CHP, officers are watching carefully for drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, the police can stop drivers for just about any minor traffic violation, including driving at night without headlights or having expired registration. During the traffic stop, the police officers may look for other signs of impairment, including:
- Odor of alcohol
- Slurred speech
- Conflicting statements about where the driver is going to or from
Fourth of July Sobriety Checkpoints
Some jurisdictions also implement sobriety checkpoints during the holidays. DUI checkpoints may end up arresting a handful of people for traffic violations, outstanding warrants, or driving under the influence. However, one of the primary goals of sobriety checkpoints is for the deterrent effect. This is one reason these checkpoints are announced ahead of time. Some recently announced sobriety checkpoints in Alameda County and Contra Costa County include:
- Dublin, near Dublin Boulevard and Civic Plaza
- Hayward, near Foothill Boulevard and City Center Drive
Police do not have probable cause of any crime to make a traffic stop at DUI checkpoints. However, the Supreme Court has ruled DUI checkpoints are legal, as long as they stick to some basic guidelines. This includes reasonable time and place location, a systematic way to stop drivers, and not delaying drivers longer than necessary.
Help After a DUI Arrest in the East Bay
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 years of DUI experience and understands the challenges involved. Helping drivers in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, contact the local criminal defense lawyer who understands DUI defense strategies and plea bargain negotiations.