If it seems like there are more police making traffic stops in Mobile these days, you are probably right. Police officers throughout Alabama tend to arrest more people on suspicion of drinking and driving during the summer.
A police sergeant with the Dothan Police Department told WDHN that increased traffic is one of the big reasons for this trend. Typically, summer is a time for road trips, parties and drives to the Gulf Shore. The officer said that DUIs also go up during this time, especially on weekends.
POLICE ARE STILL ARRESTING PEOPLE FOR DUI, DESPITE PANDEMIC
Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have reduced the arrest rate, but not as much as you might think. In Dothan, police made 329 DUI arrests in 2019. This year, as of July 8, they had made 121. That would be off the pace from last year, but not dramatically so. Alabama’s governor issued a shelter-in-place order back in April. Since then, most businesses have reopened, including bars and restaurants. Police may especially target vehicles leaving businesses that serve alcohol.
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT AUTOMATICALLY PLEAD GUILTY
Getting pulled over by a police officer doesn’t mean you will be arrested for DUI. Similarly, a DUI charge is no the same thing as a conviction. The officer could have made a mistake, such as miscalibrating the breath test machine or misinterpreting your performance on a field sobriety test. Drunk driving charges are not always as cut and dried as prosecutors can make them out to be.
Even for a first offense, the consequences of pleading guilty can be serious. The penalty for a DUI with no prior record can include up to a year in jail and a fine of $600 to $1,200. Talk to a criminal defense attorney before you plead guilty. You may have other options that would keep you out of jail and return your driving privileges back to you sooner.