State and local law enforcement agencies in New Jersey will be cracking down on drunk driving between August 21 and September 7. The national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign was launched in 1999, and it targets drunk drivers during the busy summer travel season. Alcohol was a factor in 22 percent of New Jersey’s road fatalities in 2013, and the goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of drunk driving deaths during peak travel times such as the Labor Day weekend.

The campaign will feature highly visible police actions including numerous sobriety checkpoints and roving DWI patrols. Law enforcement agencies will receive grants from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety to pay the costs associated with running the two-week campaign. The efforts of law enforcement will be supplemented by posters and mobile signs designed to drive home the message that drunk driving can lead to serious consequences.

Police have simple advice for those who do not wish to face New Jersey’s severe drunk driving penalties. They tell those attending a gathering or party where alcohol will be served to name a designated driver before setting out. Those who drink and do not have a designated driver are advised to take a taxi or use public transportation to get home. If this is not possible, they are encouraged to remain where they are until they are able to drive safely.

Many motorists facing a drunk driving charge have little experience dealing with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. They are sometimes intimidated by the process, and they often feel that the evidence against them is compelling. However, drunk driving charges often hinge on the results of toxicology tests that may be challenged by criminal defense attorneys in some situations. Legal counsel could also seek to have DWI charges reduced or dismissed during plea discussions with prosecutors.