The end-of-year holiday period is a time to be thankful, celebrate tradition, and spend time with loved ones. It is also notorious for aggressive impaired driving crackdowns from law enforcement.

Every year, Pennsylvania authorities hold Operation Safe Holiday. In an effort to discourage people from making poor decisions, law enforcement agencies ramp up enforcement efforts from about Thanksgiving through the New Year. This generally leads to hundreds of arrests as officers try to catch as many impaired drivers as possible.

But is every motorist taken into custody during these crackdowns actually guilty? It’s quite unlikely.

Defending against an impaired driving charge

An impaired driving arrest can significantly impact a person’s life. A conviction can result in an even bigger disruption. So how can you defend against a driving under the influence (DUI) charge?

One method is to look at the evidence. If your blood alcohol content was under the legal limit, for example, you’re less likely to be convicted of drunk driving. Most cases, however, aren’t that simple. When defending against a DUI charge, there are three crucial questions for you and your defense attorney to consider:

  1. Did the law enforcement officer have legitimate probable cause to stop the vehicle?
  2. Did the officer have legitimate reasonable suspicion before doing a sobriety test?
  3. Was there probable cause for an arrest?

The answers to these questions can help you build a solid defense and minimize the arrest’s impact on your life.

While it can be a bit scary to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror – even if you’ve done nothing wrong – try to remember: an accusation does not mean you are guilty. Officers must follow the rules and procedures laid out by the law, regardless of if there is a holiday impaired driving crackdown going on or not.