A holiday warning has been issued by New York's Putnam County Sheriff's Department for a "Stop-DWI Holiday Season Crackdown Enforcement", which will be in operation from December 17, 2020, until January 1, 2021.

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The joint operation to crack down on impaired driving will involve New York State Police, the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. and municipal law enforcement. Also joining this initiative will be the Town of Carmel Police and the Kent Police Department.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department's Facebook page, high-visibility police enforcement can lessen drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. The statewide crackdown will include sobriety checkpoints, which are police stops where officers are set up on a roadway to stop vehicles checking for impaired drivers. The last thing you want over the holidays is for this to happen to you.

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What rights do you have when you're stopped at a sobriety checkpoint in New York State? I clicked on the NYC 'Savin, Miller & Roche Attorneys at Law' website for the answers. Here's what I found,

    • Officers do have the right to stop drivers and test for intoxication.
    • If you see a checkpoint and make the decision to turn around, that's a bad idea. A police officer may pursue your vehicle.
    • Unless you give the officer a reason to suspect that you've been drinking or engaging in other illegal activity, the officer cannot demand to search you or your vehicle.
    • If you believe the officer performed an unlawful search or coerced an admission of guilt, you have every right to fight any charges placed against you.
    • You should know that all police departments take these stops very seriously.

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