‘Tis the season for family, friends, celebrations and – drunk driving charges? As you know, many Ohio residents include alcohol in their festivities during the holidays. Law enforcement is also aware of this, and takes steps during key holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve, to catch drunk drivers before they can cause an accident.
The sobriety checkpoint is one of the most common methods authorities employ during holidays to identify drivers who had too much to drink, according to FindLaw. You could encounter a checkpoint on your way back from the office holiday party or even when driving home after last-minute gift shopping. At these checkpoints, officers pull over vehicles in a predetermined pattern, rather than waiting until a driver shows signs of being inebriated to stop the vehicle. For example, if yours is the “lucky” fifth vehicle to pass through the checkpoint, you may be directed to pull to the shoulder and perform a field sobriety test.
As you may guess, field sobriety tests can be difficult to pass even when sober, especially if you have problems balancing or a health condition that affects your movement. If you have a speech impediment or eyes that are red and puffy from fatigue or allergies, an officer might mistakenly think you are drunk.
Regardless of your perceived or actual state of incapacitation, a drunk driving charge can come with costly penalties that may affect you for years. You are entitled to a competent defense after facing charges resulting from a sobriety checkpoint or any other time you are pulled over. Since this topic is complex, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.