Holiday Season DUI Enforcement Just Around the Corner in Orange County

December 23, 2011
By The Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera, Jr. on December 23, 2011 12:19 PM |

It seems that as holiday approach, there is more and more news that law enforcement throughout Orange County is preparing DUI enforcement efforts.

Some might see that as a bad strategy because what happens the rest of the year? And why should people driving near a holiday be subjected to more police presence than any other time?
Regardless of the debate, it's going to happen. As our Santa Ana DUI defense lawyers predicted in November, law enforcement would step up its patrols for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and it did. More than 1,350 people were arrested for DUI in Santa Ana and statewide during only a five-day period.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the number is actually 69 fewer than the number of people charged with DUI last year. There were also six more traffic deaths during the time period this year compared to last, the California Highway Patrol reports. It's unclear if any were alcohol-related.

If statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety are any indication, Orange County drivers should be careful from mid-December until the beginning of the new year. Last year, there were 743 DUI arrests from Dec. 17 to Jan. 1 in the county alone.

In 2009, numbers were down considerably, but the office only reported arrests from Jan. 1 to 3. Even in that short period, there were 110 DUI arrests.

DUI is not a charge that should be taken lightly. Lawmakers have made it so even a first-time offender, a person with no prior alcohol-related offenses and who likely had one drink too many, could end up facing jail time, probation, fines and fees, a driver's license suspension and other court-ordered sanctions.

While a Department of Motor Vehicles administrative hearing can be requested within 10 days of an arrest to fight the suspension of a driver's license, this is separate from the criminal case.

In the criminal case, many aspects of the state's evidence can be challenged. This includes faulty breathalyzers, which have caused many cases to be dropped after authorities found them to be poorly manufactured or not calibrated correctly.

Field sobriety testing -- when officers ask a driver to walk, heel-to-toe, stand and touch their nose or follow a light from left to right -- can be challenged if the officer isn't properly trained to conduct the tests or makes poor observations.

A couple tips to be aware of this time of the year, given that law enforcement will be out on the streets in larger numbers:

  • Police can pull you over for any minor traffic violation and then start a DUI investigation, so drive carefully.

  • Anything you say to an officer can be used against you in court.

  • Aggressive or loud behavior can lead to additional charges.

  • Remain calm, stay silent and call a Santa Ana DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

If you are facing DUI charges in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera Jr. to discuss your options. With three decades of experience, Attorney LaBarbera has argued more than 200 criminal trials and appeals. Call (714) 541-9668 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Expect Orange County DUI Patrols Starting Around Thanksgiving: November 23, 2011

Orange County Defense Attorneys Defending Labor Day Weekend DUI Arrests: September 14, 2011

Additional Resources:

CHP: DUI arrests down, traffic deaths up, by Lisa Fernandez, San Jose Mercury News