As Oklahomans are making plans to celebrate our nation's independence, Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers and other law enforcement officials are planning DUI enforcement strategies to try to keep state roads safer during the Fourth of July holiday.
Every year, DUI lawyers in Oklahoma City see an increase in DUI arrests around major holidays, including New Year's Eve and Memorial Day, and Independence Day is no exception. Because July 4, 2012, falls on a Wednesday, police officers, state troopers, and sheriff's deputies in Oklahoma City began stepping up enforcement and patrols over the weekend, several days in advance of the holiday.
During "Operation STanDOFF," an acronym representing state troopers, deputies, and officers, law enforcement officers set up sobriety checkpoints around the Oklahoma City area. Between 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, the checkpoints netted 49 arrests; more than 500 citations, tickets, and warnings; and 74 vehicle impounds.
Of the arrests, 34 were for DUI or APC (actual physical control); 36 were for driving without insurance, registration, or a valid driver's license; 5 were for marijuana possession; 3 were for possession of a controlled dangerous substance; 6 were for outstanding warrants; and 4 were four other reasons, for a total of 88 criminal charges.
Tickets and warnings were issued for traffic violations ranging from seat belt and child restraint violations to speeding, improper lane change, running stop signs or traffic lights, and more. Though Oklahoma law enforcement introduced their holiday crackdown with sobriety checkpoints, as the holiday itself approaches, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in Tulsa is shifting its focus from checkpoints to increased patrols.
According to OHP Lieutenant George Brown, "Checkpoints are a good tool for crime fighting, especially DUI prevention. But it isolates us to one place, and we feel we can better cover Tulsa County and the surrounding counties with saturation patrols." Increased OHP presence allows officers to focus on intoxicated drivers and reckless drivers.
Also working to prevent DUI and alcohol related accidents or deaths this year is the Oklahoma ABLE Commission (Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement). The ABLE Commission will be watching area bars to try to prevent the serving or overserving of intoxicated patrons, and they will appear at area lakes, rivers, and campgrounds to try to prevent alcohol-related accidents and altercations. Unfortunately, a holiday designed to celebrate our nation's independence and to honor all the good America represents can quickly turn dangerous or deadly when celebrations are fueled by alcohol. Our Oklahoma City law firm encourages you to celebrate responsibly.