While the holiday season might be, as the song says, the most wonderful time of the year, it can be turned into the most terrible time when police lights flip on behind your vehicle.

A DUI arrest can turn the holidays upside down, as nearly 4,400 people in Scottsdale and across Arizona found out last holiday season.

That’s how many people were arrested between last Thanksgiving and last New Year’s Eve, according to information from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

As can be expected every year, this Thanksgiving will include turkey dinners with family, celebrations with friends and increased drunk driving patrols by law enforcement officers across the Phoenix metro area.

Last year, officers arrested not only the nearly 4,400 on DUI charges, but of that total, 1,098 were taken into custody on suspicion of extreme DUI. Another 450 were suspected of aggravated driving under the influence and more than 900 were arrested on DUI drug charges, the GOHS said.

Officers often use saturation patrols in which cars are stopped. Last year, police agencies across the state stopped more than 81,000 drivers. Of that large group, nearly 2,000 were serving that night as designated drivers.

We all know the benefits of designating a driver who will abstain from drinking alcohol on the night of a group celebration. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays in which above-average numbers of people find themselves facing DUI charges.

When people make mistakes or find themselves unfairly facing a DUI charge, an experienced attorney can help sort out the legal options and help make choices that protect a person’s freedom, driving privileges and career.

Source: WILX, “Drunk Driving Alert,” Nov. 12, 2013