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What are sobriety checkpoints?

The holiday season is one of the peak times of the year for drinking and driving for people in New York and across the country. Whether you are enjoying a quiet Christmas with family or living it up downtown over New Year’s Eve, alcohol may be a part of your plans.

Because law enforcement will be on high alert for drunk drivers during the holidays, they may use numerous tools to stop suspected intoxicated drivers. One common method to screen for drunk driving is the sobriety checkpoint. How do sobriety checkpoints work, you may wonder? According to FindLaw, police utilize these checkpoints during key holidays and other high-risk times of the year. Authorities are usually required to notify the public ahead of time as to the times and locations of sobriety checkpoints. Police officers will stop vehicles in a predetermined pattern – such as every fifth vehicle – to avoid the appearance of unfairly profiling drivers. If you are stopped at a checkpoint, you will likely be asked to perform a field sobriety test. The officer may also ask you about your recent activities and how much you had to drink.

If you wish to avoid the inconvenience of stopping at a sobriety checkpoint, you may choose to take an alternate route home or to turn down another street when you see a checkpoint. You can also make a U-turn where it is legal. It is wise, however, to avoid making hasty or erratic driving decisions, which can catch the attention of nearby law enforcement.

If you are charged with drunk driving, you will need a competent defense. Therefore, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.