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New York's focus on Labor Day drunk drivers

The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and local municipal police forces regularly participate in impaired driving crackdowns over holiday weekends. This past Labor Day period was no exception. The New York State STOP-DWI Association promotes enforcement actions like this to reduce accidents caused by drunk drivers.

Law enforcement views the effort as especially important this year because of a rise in traffic fatalities related to drunk driving. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that 10,265 people died in crashes with intoxicated drivers in 2015. This represented a 3.2 percent increase in drunk driving fatalities from 2014.

Research supports the mission of impaired driving crackdowns by law enforcement. Extra patrols and sobriety checkpoints reduce deaths by as much as 20 percent. The highly visible presence of law enforcement during busy holidays impresses upon people the dangers posed by drunk driving. A statement from a Dutchess County legislator emphasized that impaired driving and its consequences were completely avoidable through better choices.

When someone is caught in a checkpoint and arrested for drunk driving, criminal charges will result. To cope with the situation, a person could seek out legal representation. An attorney could strive to defend the person from charges, especially if police officers failed to administer a field sobriety test correctly.

Even if evidence about blood alcohol level cannot be dismissed, an attorney could put together a plea deal for a reduced charge or lenient sentence. A defendant's willingness to attend and successfully complete an alcohol treatment program as well as to perform a specified number of hours of community service could convince a prosecutor to recommend minimal penalties.

Source: HVNN, "Labor Day Weekend DWI Crackdown on Impaired Driving," Kathy Welsh, Aug. 30, 2017

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