Drunk driving remains a major problem across the United States with approximately 29 people dying in alcohol-related crashes each day around the nation. However, a combination approach has helped many cities in New York drive DUI arrests down.
For example, Fulton County has seen a steady decline in misdemeanor drunk driving arrests over the past decade. In 2009, law enforcement agencies took 281 drivers into custody for alleged misdemeanor drunk driving offenses. In 2018, they took only 167 drivers into custody. Misdemeanor drunk driving arrests are also down statewide. In 2009, New York law enforcement agencies made 45,902 misdemeanor DUI arrests. By 2018, that number had fallen to 30,403.
According to experts, the decline in arrests is linked to both improved law enforcement efforts and increased public awareness. For instance, Fulton County operates the STOP-DWI Program, which funds targeted police patrols, high school post-prom parties and a free taxi service each New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile, more people are reportedly choosing to drink responsibly, often having house parties to avoid drinking and driving or arranging alternate transportation if they go out. In addition, statistics show that most first-time DUI offenders learn their lesson and are never arrested again. Only one-third of defendants go on to become chronic offenders.
Individuals convicted of drunk driving could face prison time, expensive fines and the suspension of their driver’s license. However, a criminal defense attorney may represent a defendant’s interests in court and do everything possible to protect his or her future. For example, by disputing the accuracy of any blood alcohol content or field sobriety tests that were performed, it might be possible to get the charges dropped. Another strategy might be to negotiate a plea deal that significantly reduces the charges, which may help the defendant avoid jail time or other harsh penalties.