Both Christmas and New Year’s will see people hosting parties and traveling around New Hampshire to celebrate. Most of those celebrations will be uneventful gatherings, but some of them may result in tragic outcomes.
Both holidays have a strong association with social drinking, and every year, hundreds of people lose their lives during the holidays due to higher than usual levels of drunk driving. New Year’s, in particular, has a strong association with increased drunk fatalities. There’s also the potential for inclement winter weather adding to the risks on the road.
Law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire and across the country watch carefully for drunk drivers around the holidays. Aggressive enforcement can lead to fewer crashes but also full holding cells. They may even establish sobriety checkpoints to screen hundreds of drivers on the holidays or the weekends right before or after the holidays.
New Hampshire allows for sobriety checkpoints
Although some states do not permit police officers to conduct drunk driving roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints, New Hampshire permits checkpoints. It is not a violation of someone’s constitutional rights or of state law for the police to conduct a checkpoint. In fact, it is common for different New Hampshire police departments to organize checkpoints around the holidays and holiday weekends specifically.
Drivers who encounter a checkpoint will have to interact with police officers screening them for intoxication. Usually, this amounts to a couple of questions when the driver initially stops their vehicle. The entire interaction should only take a minute or so, and most drivers will quickly be sent on their way.
Those that officers suspected of impairment will likely have to perform field sobriety tests or possibly a chemical breath test, which could ultimately result in an arrest and impaired driving charges.
A checkpoint doesn’t mean you have no way to defend yourself
Just because you got arrested as part of a coordinated law enforcement sobriety checkpoint does not mean that you have no choice but to plead guilty. There may be multiple defense options available to you, ranging from challenging the evidence to presenting your own medical explanation for what occurred during the traffic stop.
Understanding the correlation between the holidays and increased drunk driving enforcement could help you avoid impaired driving charges or plan a way to fight allegations against you.