My primary business as a criminal defense lawyer is defending drunk driving cases, and I am proud of my job and my profession as a whole. So I am happy to discuss my career and my business with anyone.
One of the common comments I get from people who know what I do around holidays or other “big drinking days” or holiday weekends like New Year’s Eve, the Superbowl, St. Patricks’s Day, Memorial day Weekend, the 4th of July, Halloween, Christmas Holiday party season, etc., is “This must be your busy season.”
But it actually doesn’t work that way. The (unfortunate) fact is, there are drunk drivers on the road every night of the week, all the time. The biggest variables are how many cops are on the road, and how aggressive they are at pulling people over.
If the police are on the highways and of a mind to pull a lot of people over for speeding (people are always speeding, easy pickings!), particularly at night, they can always find a meaningful percentage of people who are over the legal limit.
So the DUI business is actually much “steadier” then people realize. But there are a few exceptions that can cause spikes in arrest rates.
There are at least a few weekends a year where there is a boost to the number of police on the roads, usually funded with Federal dollars from NHTSA to local departments. Sometimes this happens on big holiday weekends like Memorial Day or Labor day, but not always.
You’ve probably seen ads on TV during football games or other sporting events “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over”. Most of the time the advertising is coordinated with a few weekends a year where the police get some extra OT, and the government spends money to raise drunk driving awareness and increase enforcement.
This sometimes makes a small bump in the number of calls we get, although it is not usually that significant.
Massachusetts occasionally has big weekends where they run large DUI roadblocks, or field sobriety check points. They pull over lots and lots of cars looking for drunk drivers. And they find them, too.
One place they often do this is on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. The state police even have a Breathalyzer Alcohol Testing Mobile which they bring out for these roadblocks, known as the “BAT mobile”. The batmobile has the same kind of breath test machines that police stations use, so the BAC evidence is admissible in court.
These roadblocks sometimes do produce a noticeable bump in calls. In fact, we have had multiple clients pulled over in the same roadblock on several occasions.
The single biggest factors that influences how many calls from people arrested for drunk driving is something quite mundane: The weather.
Specifically, if the weather is bad, with a huge storm, particularly a large snowstorm, there are simply a lot less people on the road, and the police are doing a lot less pulling over potential drunk drivers.
When there is a huge snowstorm, my office phone rings a lot less the next day.
So there you have it, the mostly mundane facts about the business of drunk driving.
Have questions about drunk driving law in Massachusetts?
Call me anytime.
Attorney Russell Matson
(781)380-7730 – 24 hours a day