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Philadelphia’s DUI arrest numbers this year may surprise you

As you already know, in March, the governor of Pennsylvania ordered a statewide shelter-in-place order in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. That included shutting down all bars, restaurants, liquor stores and other establishments that served or sold alcohol.

By June, infection rates had slowed enough that much of the state had reopened. Before that, you might have expected the DUI arrest rate to have gone down significantly. With bars and restaurants closed, and social gatherings virtually forbidden, it would seem that drinking and driving arrests in Philadelphia would have dropped off sharply.

The numbers

And they did, but the numbers are somewhat mixed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Both local cops and State Police report that their DUI arrests for the spring and early summer were down compared with 2019. But after dropping significantly starting when the lockdown order began in March, the arrest numbers for both departments rose in May.

City police arrested 176 people for DUI in February, 122 in March, and just 69 in April. But in May, they made 132 arrests on suspicion of drinking and driving. Again, that was before the governor allowed some liquor-selling businesses to reopen. Similarly, troopers patrolling Philly’s interstates reported just 16 DUI arrests in April but 37 in May, close to the 42 arrests troopers made in February.

DUI arrests are not going away

Our point is, police throughout Philly are still looking to arrest as many drivers as they can. As bars and restaurants in the city continue to receive customers again, you can be sure that officers on patrol are looking for justifications to pull you over, such as a broken tail light or a lane change the observing officer judges to be improper.

No matter what the police or prosecutor tells you, pleading guilty to DUI charges may not be your only option. To know for sure what strategy will give you the best outcome, consult an experienced Philadelphia defense attorney before you make any decisions about your case.


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