Tens of thousands of Virginia residents and visitors face charges of driving under the influence every year. It likely comes as no surprise that spikes in arrests and charges for alleged DUI offenses tend to occur during holiday periods.
The Virginia State Police confirm that they have been on stepped up patrol since Thanksgiving in ongoing efforts to stifle the incidents of drunk driving in the commonwealth. Tonight -- New Year's Eve -- is expected to be no different. Indeed, police may be even more diligent than usual.
Individuals charged with drunk driving should not take the matter lightly. Even first time offenses can result in serious penalties if a conviction is obtained. Charges should not be faced without an attorney's help.
This year, State Police troopers will not only be out in force on patrol. Officials say they will also be working with police in local jurisdictions to cover checkpoints aimed at finding and stopping impaired drivers.
Two specific initiatives are being highlighted. One is called Checkpoint Strikeforce. The other is the ongoing national effort going under the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" moniker.
The federal government's records on national fatalities indicate that more than 10,000 people were killed in accidents involving drunk drivers in 2012. That was up by about 5,000 over the year before.
A spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police says that preliminary figures for DUI-related deaths in the state indicate that more than 720 people have been killed this year.
Such statistics provide clear rationale for authorities taking a firm stance against drunk driving infractions. But that shouldn't happen at the expense of an individual's right to due process.
Source: Daily Press, "State police to step up patrols for New Year's," Andrea Castillo, Dec. 30, 2013