While people are arrested for drunk driving any time of the year, certain days have higher rates of drinking and driving. This includes the 4th of July, Labor Day, and Memorial Day. However, one of the busiest times of the year for drunk driving arrests occurs during the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. There were more DUI arrests this year as Californians rang in 2017.
According to the California Highway Patrol, CHP officers made 1,072 drunk driving arrests between 6 p.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. on Sunday, New Year's Day. This was during the Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP), when law enforcement departments and the CHP add additional patrols for the purpose of enforcing the state's DUI laws.
During the New Year's enforcement period last year, the CHP made only 457 drunk driving arrests. However, the MEP was 2 days shorter last year. These numbers do not take into account arrests made by sheriff's officers or local police departments. However, just like the CHP, local law enforcement often put additional patrols on the streets to catch impaired drivers.
Law enforcement agencies across the state set up DUI checkpoints to catch suspected drunk drivers, drivers without a valid license, and others who were not buckled up. On Friday, December 30th, police in Richmond set up a sobriety checkpoint near Marina Bay Parkway and Foothill Avenue. In Oakland, another sobriety checkpoint was set up on the same night in the area of Hegenberger Road.
In San Diego County, CHP officers arrested almost 70 drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The year before saw only 20 drunk driving arrests. In Humboldt County, 7 people were arrested for suspected DUIs, compared to 8 from last year.In Madera, a driver appeared to be lost driving around residential streets before the vehicle came to a stop on train tracks. A passerby called police after suspecting the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol. Police arrived to find a young mother behind the wheel, smelling of alcohol, with her 11-month-old baby in the back seat. Her blood alcohol level was tested at three times the legal limit. She was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
Unfortunately, alcohol plays a role in a number of car accidents that occur over the holidays. Over the New Year's holiday last year, 27 people died in fatal car accidents. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, almost 40% of traffic related deaths over December holidays involve intoxicated drivers. Fortunately, only one person reportedly died in a DUI-related accident this year, compared to two people over the 2015 to 2016 New Year's weekend.
With over 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI conviction can affect your future, possibly your job, and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.