10 Things To Know During Memorial Day Traffic Crackdowns
All attorneys who practice DUI law in Georgia know that holiday weekends mean traffic enforcement crackdowns, and Memorial Day weekend is no exception. On Monday, law enforcement officials in Georgia and its neighboring states began what they call the “Hands Across the Border” traffic enforcement campaign. Click here to read more about the campaign.
So what are some things that Georgia drivers should know going into a holiday weekend, especially during a traffic enforcement campaign?
1. Always wear your seatbelt. Obviously it is a safety feature, but it’s also something that the police pay attention to. They will give you a ticket for nothing more than a seat belt violation.
2. Watch your speed. In many DUI cases, speeding is the thing that initially draws the attention of law enforcement.
3. Make sure all your lights are functioning properly. Aside from speeding and other moving violations, equipment violations are a common reason that people get pulled over. Sometimes, these encounters lead to arrests for other offenses, such as DUI. While it is certainly valid to argue that having a broken taillight does not mean that a person is a less safe driver, courts give the police a lot of leeway, so don’t risk it.
4. Remember that you are not required to participate in field sobriety testing. Click here to learn more about the different kinds of field sobriety tests and how they work. These tests are voluntary, regardless of whether or not you are informed of that fact.
5. You have the right to remain silent, even prior to an arrest. Other than giving your basic contact information and producing your driver’s license, you are not required to make any further statements about where you are going, what (if anything) you had to drink, etc.
6. While you do not have to give any statements or participate in any testing, you should remain polite and non-combative, even if you believe that you are in the right. Arguing with the police is unwise, and can even lead to additional charges. Save your arguments for your attorney to make in court.
7. It is not illegal to film the police. However, you should do so from a safe distance and not obstruct an arrest.
8. If you see a roadblock, technically it is not illegal to turn around. However, the police may find this suspicious and send an officer to stop you. This is legal.
9. If the police ask to search your vehicle, you do not have to give your consent. In some circumstances they are allowed to do so regardless of your consent, but they must have probable cause first. If you give your consent, they can search even without probable cause.
10. If you are arrested, write down everything you remember about the arrest as soon as possible. Many of the defenses to traffic and criminal offenses depend on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest, and memories fade more quickly than you might think. If you are able to accurately relay information to your attorney, he or she can accurately assess your case and to make the best arguments to potentially win your case.
Bonus Tip: Finally, if you find yourself under arrest over Memorial Day weekend, you should call me today. Some courts have court on the first work day after a DUI arrest. Thus, time is of the essence. None of the information in this article is intended to be a substitute for legal advice from an attorney who understands the unique facts of your case. Every case is different.