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Be Prepared for 4th of July DUI Checkpoints & Patrols

In just a few days, people all over the country will be celebrating Independence Day, the day that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when we officially declared independence from Great Britain, now the United Kingdom. Most businesses are closed on the Fourth of July, and people of all ages and from all walks of life across the nation will take advantage of the long weekend to take part in various celebrations: parades, fireworks displays, barbeques, picnics, bonfires, concerts and more.

In the midst of all the celebrating, it is important to remember that law enforcement will be heightening anti-DUI efforts. DUI, or driving under the influence, is one of their primary concerns during virtually all holidays. The number of drunk driving-related accidents, injuries and fatalities are typically increased on holidays and over holiday weekends.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year when it comes to drunk driving accidents. Fatalities in drunk driving accidents (collisions involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater) during the Fourth of July holiday period from 2008 through 2012 accounted for 40% of all traffic fatalities over the same five-year period.

In an attempt to cut down on drunk driving, both by deterring intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel and by getting drunk drivers off the road, Orange County law enforcement agencies will be implementing increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints. As a part of the "Avoid the 38" DUI Task Force, the 38 participating law enforcement agencies across Orange County will be engaging so-called DUI saturation patrols to travel the streets and highways and find drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Orange County law enforcement will also be carrying out sobriety checkpoints, which are typically held in locations with high DUI accident rates. At these checkpoints, law enforcement officers will randomly screen vehicles and their drivers to check their license and registration and also to determine whether they may be driving under the influence. Depending on an officer's observations, a driver may be stopped and asked to perform field sobriety tests. A driver may even be arrested and subjected to a breath test or blood test to determine his or her blood alcohol level.

All Fourth of July DUI checkpoints must be publicly advertised in advance, as required by law to uphold their constitutionality. Drivers must be randomly screened, to avoid discrimination, and drivers must also be stopped for a minimal amount of time. There are other specific rules that must be followed at these checkpoints to make sure drivers' rights are not violated in any way.

You can stay informed on DUI checkpoints and patrols in your area by checking online, on Facebook, local news sources and law enforcement websites. If you encounter a checkpoint or patrol officer and are arrested for DUI, make sure you invoke your right to an attorney. Protect your driver's license, your freedom and your interests by involving an Orange County DUI lawyer who has the experience and skill to make a difference in your case. Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry today for more information and insight.