Police will be out in full force this Halloween all over California. Many news outlets are reporting increased police patrols looking for signs of intoxicated drivers. Halloween is one of the biggest times for DUI arrests. From 2007 to 2011, 52% of all Halloween traffic fatalities occurred due to drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is also the night of the highest number of child pedestrian accidents.
Any holiday that leads to parties is likely to generate an increase in drivers who have been drinking. Some believe that police use this as an excuse to get more DUI arrests. Others believe that every precaution should be taken when it comes to protecting children. Expect police to be out on DUI patrol between 6 pm Thursday night and 2 am Friday morning looking for any sign of possible intoxication.
Police will be targeting anyone who is speeding, swerving, or exhibiting any other driving behavior that is associated with impaired driving. During periods of high alert like this, many drivers are arrested for DUI. Not all of them are convicted of it though. When police set out to make DUI arrests, they can get overzealous and arrest innocent people because they fit a profile.
For example, a driver is stopped by police while coming home from a party late Halloween night. They are wearing a costume so it is obvious that they have been celebrating. The driver declines to take any preliminary sobriety testing. Police in this situation would likely arrest the driver for suspicion of DUI. Even though the driver's only crime was driving over the speed limit, because of the situation, they may have to spend the night in jail.
Extra police patrol is important on nights like Halloween when more young people are likely to be out late, but police should not assume every driver is going to be intoxicated and be careful about who they arrest.