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Holiday enforcement could lead to more drunk driving charges

Thanksgiving in Indiana may have passed, but the holiday season is still in progress in the state and across the nation. With that comes an increase in law enforcement vigilance in attempting to tamp down on the number of drivers on the road who are under the influence. While this is undoubtedly a worthwhile endeavor, the number of people who are arrested on drunk driving charges is often related to the perception on the part of officers that they were under the influence. The reality is that some of the arrests might not be conducted according to the law and the evidence could be called into question.

The night before Thanksgiving is often treated as a night for people - especially younger people - to gather and drink. Referred to as "Black Wednesday" or some form of that, it was believed that there would be more drunk drivers on the road. Statistically, it is known to be a problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 35 percent of fatalities during Thanksgiving are because of alcohol. In 2016, there were 10 fatalities on Indiana highways. State and local law enforcement promoted safety ensured that people know there will be an increased presence of law enforcement on the road.

Focusing on the possibility that drivers are operating their vehicles under the influence can be viewed as a positive for the entire holiday season. However, that could increase the chance that people who are not violating the law face charges when they should not have. Drivers who are stopped amid allegations that they have surpassed the legal BAC level or committed another action behind the wheel that led to a stop must be aware of their rights. This is true for those who were arrested over Thanksgiving weekend amid the increased enforcement and might be confronted with charges through the new year.

When a person is charged with driving under the influence, there are a litany of penalties and consequences they may face. There could be jail time, a driver's license suspension, fines and other problems. Having a drunk driving conviction can hinder a person's entire life. It is possible that the traffic stop was made without justifiable reason or the testing device was not working correctly. The person could be innocent. Having legal assistance after a drunk driving arrest is vital to formulating a strong defense. This is especially true as law enforcement is increasing its presence on the road.

Source: wthr.com, "Police turn up patrols to stop drunk driving on 'Blackout Wednesday'," David Macanally, Nov. 22, 2017

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