This time of year is usually when college students come home for extended breaks, working adults travel home to see their families and friends and relatives come together to celebrate the holidays. December is a month of travel and parties, from work functions to school Christmas pageants to neighborhood Ugly Sweater parties.
During this month, it is important to keep in mind that while alcohol may be freely flowing, the risk of a DUI/DWI charge is high, especially given the potentially dangerous weather and increase in drivers this time of year. Law enforcement presence will also be increased this month as officers are on the lookout for dangerous or erratic driving behavior, and they will be using enhanced methods to apprehend drunk drivers.
DUI checkpoints are frequently used by law enforcement officials to curb or catch drunk drivers before they travel too far. Throughout the holiday season, New Jersey drivers can expect to see or even encounter a checkpoint or two. That being the case, drunk driving lawyers recommend drivers stay vigilant and take precautions when traveling, even if the trip is just a few blocks over for a neighborhood party.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides guidelines for staging DUI checkpoints at intersections, busy roadways and other high-traffic areas. The guidelines require that each checkpoint location is made public so drivers will know about the risk and will avoid drinking and driving in that area. Be alert for media broadcasts or publications that detail checkpoint locations. Avoiding a checkpoint could save you from a DUI charge.
College students, especially students under the age of 21, may be used to a certain lifestyle on their campus dorms, and being home for the holidays can feel like a continuation of the party without all the homework and classes to slow them down. But when an underage student is caught with alcohol, or driving drunk, the consequences are severe, especially outside the college world. An underage drinker could be punished with license suspension, heavy fines or even jail time, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
The consequences do not end there, however. Anyone who furnishes or supplies alcohol to a minor—whether it is purchasing the bottle for the underage person or serving alcohol at a party at which minors are present and not monitoring their access—can be held responsible for the actions of that minor when drunk. An underage DUI accident can easily be escalated if another party is involved in providing the alcohol.
In order to avoid an arrest that could easily ruin your holiday spirit, our attorneys recommend you use caution when out on the roads, and avoid driving when you are drunk or under the influence of drugs. If you are caught driving drunk, we can help. Our attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA represent drivers charged with DUI or DWI in the state. To learn more, or for a free, no-strings consultation, call an HCK lawyer today.