For the ninth year in a row, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) have teamed up to spread the message that it's illegal and unsafe to drink and drive -- whether you're behind the steering wheel of a car or the steering wheel of a watercraft.
The "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive" campaign is aimed at reducing drunk driving accidents and fatalities whether they occur on the road or on the water. You can generally expect to see more officers patrolling the roads and waterways throughout the month but particularly on the most active weekends during the summer, starting with Memorial Day weekend. The next big dates include:
- June 28-30
- July 5-7
- Aug. 31-Sept. 2
Officers will be operating sobriety checkpoints. They will also be offering education and trying to promote public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and drunk boating. Accordingly, law enforcement authorities are reminding everyone in the state to have a designated driver if their weekend plans involve alcohol.
It's important to remember that sobriety checkpoints to look for drunk or drugged drivers are legal and can happen to boaters as easily as they do drivers. Attempting to avoid a checkpoint (by turning around or taking a detour) will likely cause the police to follow you and initiate a traffic stop. It's usually wiser to go through the sobriety checkpoint. You should also keep in mind, however, that you do have the right to refuse to answer questions about where you have been, what you were doing and where you are going.
If one of these sobriety checkpoints results in a drunk or drugged driving charge, the smartest thing you can do is to contact an experienced drunk driving attorney. An attorney can assess your case, look for areas where your rights may have been violated, question the results of pseudo-scientific tests and guide you through the legal process to come.