Los Angeles County officials say that during 10-day December holiday enforcement campaign more motorists were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving this year than during the same time frame last year. Law enforcement can be expected to be out in full force through the New Year’s holiday.

Authorities released preliminary numbers from a task force comprised of 100 law enforcement agencies across LA County that say 1,506 people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol between Dec. 16 and Dec. 25 this year. Officials say that not all of the agencies in the DUI task force have reported their numbers, suggesting the actual tally of DUI arrests could rise when all the numbers are reported. Last year, Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies made a total of 1,260 DUI arrests during the same time frame.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says that law enforcement agencies will use a variety of tactics during the New Year’s holiday to enforce California’s strict DUI laws. Motorists can expect to see DUI checkpoints across Southern California over the holiday. The LA Sheriff’s office says a multi-agency task force operation and local roving DUI patrols will also be scattered throughout the area through the New Year holiday.

Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers note that arrests for DUI may be common, but the direct and collateral consequences of a DUI charge can be stiff. Law enforcement and prosecutors are not entitled to obtain a conviction based upon a charge alone. The law requires that law enforcement follow constitutionally sound procedures in making a DUI stop and gathering evidence. People facing DUI charges in the LA area should consider speaking with a seasoned DUI defense lawyer for an assessment of the facts and to learn what defenses may be available in an individual case.

Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram, “Holiday DUI arrests top 1,500,” Dec. 27, 2011