New York residents who planned to attend any parties or other gatherings over the Halloween weekend were wise to avoid alcohol if had they planned to drive home as law enforcement agencies all over the state put more officers on the street to combat drunk driving. The STOP-DWI Crackdown began on October 30 and ran for three days. The initiative that involved several police departments was announced on October 26 by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office.

Studies suggest that an increased police presence can reduce impaired driving deaths by as much as 20%. In addition to upping the number of patrols and increasing visibility, police departments in New York set up sobriety checkpoints at known drunk driving hotspots. Similar efforts are being planned for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

Law enforcement officials said that the primary goal of the crackdown was not to make DUI arrests but to deter people from getting behind the wheel after drinking. They pointed out that drunk driving fatalities remain worryingly high in New York despite the progress that has been made in recent years. New Yorkers who plan to attend gatherings are advised to arrange for a safe way to get home, and a mobile app has been created to help them do so.

Motorists who are charged with drunk driving after failing a breath test at a DWI checkpoint may be wise to cooperate with the police and refrain from making false statements. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could argue that motorists who have had no prior run-ins with the law and did not get into an accident should be treated leniently, but prosecutors may be less willing to reduce DWI penalties when individuals acted belligerently and lied to police officers.