Police officers could pull you over for driving under the influence (DUI) at any point. There are constant traffic patrols, and you never know when you might encounter an officer watching for signs of illegal driving activity.

However, there are certain times of the year when your risk for a DUI arrest may be higher than at others. Recognizing when your risk is highest could help you make good decisions, like choosing not to attend a party or arranging for a designated driver to attend with you.

Enforcement tends to reflect statistical risk

Although police officers can catch someone driving after drinking at any point, they will watch more carefully during times that they mentally associate with more drunk drivers on the roads. Looking at annual statistics for drunk driving fatalities creates a clear pattern of when crashes are most likely to occur.

Overall, the summer is the most dangerous time of the year for DUIs, accounting for 29% of annual drunk-driving fatalities. The winter also sees plenty of drunk driving enforcement, as the holidays have a strong correlation with drunk driving crash rates. Around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, police departments are likely to be on high alert for signs of drunk drivers.

The summer months and the major holidays, as well as the weekends that fall right before or after those holidays, are times when police officers are more likely to be on the roads looking for drunk drivers and arresting them. Even local events, like students moving on to campus in a college town, can lead to more enforcement activity because police anticipate an uptick in drunk driving.

Why timing may matter to your defense

Fighting back against a DUI charge requires creating a reasonable doubt about how you behaved or the reason why you acted a certain way.

Police officers looking for drunk drivers because they expect there to be many drunk drivers on the road are more likely to make assumptions about the causes of certain behaviors. Rather than objectively analyzing the situation, they will instead seek to find evidence that confirms their suspicions of intoxication.

Realizing that you got arrested for drunk driving during a higher-risk time of the year could influence how you defend against those DUI charges.