‘Tis the season for family, friends, merriment and – sobriety checkpoints? You and other New York residents may not be surprised to see the familiar checkpoints popping up during the holiday season, but you might not know exactly what they entail.

According to FindLaw, sobriety checkpoints are popular in many states during key holidays when people are likely to consume large amounts of alcohol, such as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. The fall and winter holiday season is another prime time of year for checkpoints, since it is well known that many people attempt to drive home after having a little too much to drink at the office Christmas party or on New Year’s Eve.

What exactly is a sobriety checkpoint, you might wonder? At such checkpoints, drivers are randomly stopped and inspected for signs of impairment. If you are one of the lucky ones, you might be asked to perform a field sobriety test. An officer might check your eyes, ask you a few questions and look for other signs that you shouldn’t be behind the wheel. If you fail the field sobriety test or an officer has any reason to suspect you might be drunk, you could be asked to submit to a breath test. Refusing to submit to a breath test can have unexpected consequences, such as the immediate suspension of your driver’s license and a drunk driving charge.

Many people believe sobriety checkpoints are unfair, as they may unnecessarily detain sober people and subject them to a test they might fail. Since this topic is complex, this blog post should not replace the advice of a lawyer.