Articles Posted in Holidays

At the Law Office of James E. Novak, part of our job is to meet with clients in moments of crisis and figure out how to craft a winning legal strategy that will meet their needs. Too often, we speak with clients who are facing DUI charges that could have been avoided. Roadways and highways in Arizona can be dangerous places, and it is important to drive with an acute awareness of your surroundings as you travel this holiday season.

Around Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, state troopers know that drivers are more likely to get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs. With celebrations happening at an increased rate, drivers can easily become less vigilant about driving safely and about arranging for a designated driver ahead of time. Because of statistics that point to a clear increase in drunk driving during the month of December, officers put more time and resources into monitoring for DUIs at the end of the calendar year.

In Arizona, a person who drives with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of .08 or higher is over the legal limit. For a first offense, when the BAC is between .08 and .149%, a driver faces a minimum of ten days in jail; when the BAC is between .15 and .199%, a driver faces a minimum of 30 days in jail; and when the BAC is over .20%, a driver faces a minimum of 45 days in jail. Each of these sentences is also accompanied by fines, license suspensions of at least 90 days, and orders to install ignition interlock devices as a method of surveillance.

This holiday season, drivers will be especially eager to visit their family and friends for annual celebrations. With many people having stayed home last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, groups could be gathering in higher numbers this year compared to years past. It is important to be aware, however, that as more Arizonians are out on the road, police officers will be increasing their efforts to conduct traffic stops and charge people with DUIs.

The holidays are always a time when troopers maintain a more active presence on the roads, and, according to a recent news report, troopers have pulled more people over around 2021 holidays than they had in 2019 and 2020. Fourth of July, Labor Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Halloween all saw increases in the number of DUI arrests compared to 2020. In particular, 2021 Halloween arrests were more than Halloween arrests in 2019 and 2020 combined.

The day before Thanksgiving is the first day to be extra careful on the roads this holiday season; the NHTSA reports that 800 people died in the U.S. due to DUI accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday period from 2013 to 2017. Popularly known as “Whisky Wednesday”, the day before Thanksgiving will be a day when state troopers to pull over more people than they typically would.

Arizona ride-sharing and cab services are a popular way for residents to enjoy holiday festivities without the risk of impaired driving. However, as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the state, people are understandably concerned about the various health and safety issues associated with ride-sharing services. In turn, individuals may be more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol, especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. As a result, Arizona law enforcement increases their DUI patrols during the holiday season.

Driving under the influence can have a serious impact on a motorist and anyone in their path. In addition to causing severe bodily injury and death, driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona can result in hefty penalties, criminal charges, and incarceration. In addition to alcohol, driving under the influence includes any substance that may impair a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, such as both illegal and prescription medication. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), there are nearly 5,000 alcohol-related collisions, resulting in over 250 deaths every year.

Prevention is the most important step that an Arizona motorist can take to avoid causing serious injuries or death to themselves and another. However, the inherent nature of alcohol consumption is that it impairs a person to make wise judgments. Individuals attending holiday events should plan ahead to make sure that they have safe transportation. Further, Arizonians should avoid drinking while driving, which may be an issue during this time of “drive-by” celebrations and holiday gatherings.

Law enforcement typically steps up their enforcement of Arizona DUI arrests over long holiday weekends. However, according to a recent news report, there was a decrease in the total number of drunk driving arrests in Arizona over the July 4th weekend. Evidently, between July 3 and 5, Arizona law enforcement officers stopped over 5,200 motorists and arrested 193 people on suspicion of drunk driving. Of those arrests, 51 were for extreme DUI, meaning the driver’s blood-alcohol content was over .15. The legal limit in Arizona is .08. In addition, officers arrested 65 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

In previous years, the number of Arizona DUI arrests was significantly higher. For example, in 2019, law enforcement officers stopped over 15,00 motorists, arresting over 5,200 for DUI-related offenses. The consensus is that fewer people ventured out this year due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. However, opinions differ as to the extent to which the rate of drunk driving increases over holiday weekends. Some claim that most of the increase in DUI arrests is due to law enforcement’s aggressive enforcement measures.

Things to Keep in Mind When Getting Pulled Over

Seeing the dreaded blue-and-red lights in the rear-view mirror is a fear almost all motorists have. However, these fears are heightened when someone is pulled over at night, over a holiday weekend, or after having one or two drinks.

Continue reading

It is a well-known fact that there are more Arizona DUI arrests over long holiday weekends because law enforcement officers believe that there will be more drunk drivers on the road. However, some weekends result in more DUI arrests than others. According to a recent report, instances of intoxicated driving are much more common over the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Fourth of July

According to a recent news report, Arizona law enforcement agencies stepped up their DUI enforcement efforts over Halloween week in an attempt to curb the number of Arizona DUI cases. The statistics from the enforcement effort have not yet been released; however, last Halloween, there were a total of 364 Arizona DUI arrests made over the Halloween holiday. This figure was down significantly from 2017, in which there were 447 DUI arrests on Halloween.

In the recent article, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety encouraged everyone to have a good time, which, he acknowledged, may involve consuming alcohol. However, he urged those who drank alcohol to take an Uber, Lyft, or some other form of transportation rather than get behind the wheel.

The period beginning on Halloween and going through the New Year is a time when law enforcement is out in droves searching for those who are driving under the influence. While motorists are advised to arrange for alternate transportation when they have had too much to drink, it is also vital they understand their rights when there is an increased police presence on the road.

Law enforcement officers frequently focus their DUI enforcement efforts on long weekends and holidays under the assumption that people are more likely to drink and drive when they are out celebrating with friends and family. According to a recent news report, there were a total of 503 Arizona DUI arrests over Memorial Day weekend. Of those, 70 people were arrested for aggravated DUI and the remaining 433 were misdemeanor DUI arrests.

The article lists a few other interesting facts:

  • 109 motorists were arrested for extreme DUI, with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) in excess of .15

The 4th of July is known as a holiday when people kick back and relax with friends and family. Over this holiday, it is inevitable that some people will have too much to drink. Knowing this fact, each year Arizona police set out to make a statement against driving under the influence by focusing their efforts on strictly enforcing the state’s DUI laws over the holiday break.

According to a recent news report, 1,726 law enforcement officers participated in a state-wide enforcement effort over the holiday. In total, police made over 11,000 traffic stops over July 3rd and 4th, and arrested nearly 300 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Of those, 62 of the arrests were for “extreme DUI” in which the driver’s blood-alcohol content is alleged to be greater than .15.

Police Were Looking for Reasons to Stop Drivers

Given that the state’s law enforcement officers were on high alert for drivers under the influence, it is likely that many of the traffic stops police made were motivated by “gut instincts” rather than articulable facts supporting a finding that the driver was under the influence. However, under Arizona law, police officers cannot pull over motorist for no reason or act on a hunch when determining which motorists to stop. Doing so violates the motorist’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Continue reading

The 4th of July is a great time for merriment and celebration, but sometimes people take it too far. Time and time again, people often drink to excess for the 4th of July. When they do, they may act irresponsibly, getting behind the wheel even if their BAC is beyond the legal limit.

At The Law Office of James Novak, we take DUI defense strategies and cases very seriously, and we meet with numerous people throughout the Phoenix area who have been arrested during this particular holiday weekend. Let's consider the 4th of July and DUI arrests right now.

Arrest Numbers Down for the Fourth of July This Year

Contact Information