Holiday DUI Stops

Phoenix Lawyer Representing Drivers

Arizona law enforcement officers enforce harsh DUI laws all year around. However, from Christmas through New Year’s Eve, they crack down more aggressively on suspected DUI offenses by setting up holiday DUI stops. This time of the year is considered one of the most dangerous for drunk driving accidents. If were arrested during for drunk driving, you should contact Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor with experience in the criminal justice system and understands the strategies to pursue to arrive at the most positive outcome.

Holiday DUI Stops

Drunk driving is usually at its highest during the holiday season. Accordingly, officers are especially attentive to drunk driving and take special measures to combat it. Often, officers use sobriety checkpoints and rolling stops during the holidays. While the police must continue to honor your constitutional rights, greater scrutiny is used and the net is cast much wider to identify potential drunk drivers during the holidays.

DUI Checkpoints

During the holidays, police officers may set up DUI checkpoints to apprehend drunk drivers. They select a location for the checkpoint and erect a roadblock. A driver passing on New Year’s Eve may need to slow and stop at the checkpoint. A police officer may approach the vehicle, request your driver’s license and ask a few questions.

The purpose of the interview is to identify drivers who are inebriated. Even though it’s the holidays, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to make small talk with police officers. You should only provide the information that’s requested.

If the police believe you’ve been drinking, you’ll be pulled aside to undergo an ordinary, full-length DUI stop, which may involve field sobriety tests. The objective in a field sobriety test is to determine whether probable cause exists for a DUI arrest. These tests are not always reliable, and a defense lawyer may be able challenge the results in a motion to suppress or at trial. Although drivers aren’t legally required to participate in field sobriety tests, if they refuse, they may find themselves arrested anyway.

Once arrested, you’ll be asked to undergo a chemical test. Arizona has an implied consent law under which you’re considered to have agreed to submit to chemical testing when you receive an Arizona driver’s license. The Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your license if you refuse to take the chemical test.

Saturation Patrols

During the holidays, Arizona law enforcement follow special enforcement methods. Multiple agencies join together in a Task Force program to conduct large-scale saturation patrols. During the saturation patrol, more officers are on the road searching for impaired motorists and they may conduct pretextual stops. They may pull over drivers not only if they see signs of impairment but also for more minor infractions. Minor infractions may include, for example, failure to use a turn signal when changing lanes or failure to turn on headlights at twilight. The minor infraction can constitute a reasonable suspicion of impairment and provide a police officer with a basis for stopping and investigating you.

In most cases, this type of stop is conducted rapidly. An officer takes a look at you and smells your breath to try to figure out whether you’ve been consuming alcohol. If he suspects you were drinking, he’ll probe further to try to obtain the evidence needed to arrest you.


You shouldn’t assume you’ll be convicted simply because you were arrested during the holidays. All DUIs need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high standard. A defendant may be able to raise many potential defenses. For instance, during the holiday checkpoint, an officer should have probable cause to arrest you. If no probable cause existed, the defense may motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the arrest.

Consult With a Seasoned Attorney in Phoenix

Holiday DUI stops can turn drinking and driving into serious criminal charges. If you were arrested and charged with drunk driving, you should discuss your situation with lawyer James E. Novak. Mr. Novak has many years of experience representing those charged with drunk or drugged driving in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa, as well as throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
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Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.