Law enforcement typically steps up their enforcement of Arizona DUI arrests over long holiday weekends. However, according to a recent news report, there was a decrease in the total number of drunk driving arrests in Arizona over the July 4th weekend. Evidently, between July 3 and 5, Arizona law enforcement officers stopped over 5,200 motorists and arrested 193 people on suspicion of drunk driving. Of those arrests, 51 were for extreme DUI, meaning the driver’s blood-alcohol content was over .15. The legal limit in Arizona is .08. In addition, officers arrested 65 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.
In previous years, the number of Arizona DUI arrests was significantly higher. For example, in 2019, law enforcement officers stopped over 15,00 motorists, arresting over 5,200 for DUI-related offenses. The consensus is that fewer people ventured out this year due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. However, opinions differ as to the extent to which the rate of drunk driving increases over holiday weekends. Some claim that most of the increase in DUI arrests is due to law enforcement’s aggressive enforcement measures.
Things to Keep in Mind When Getting Pulled Over
Seeing the dreaded blue-and-red lights in the rear-view mirror is a fear almost all motorists have. However, these fears are heightened when someone is pulled over at night, over a holiday weekend, or after having one or two drinks.
Police will often pressure motorists to admit to things they do not need to admit to or agree to a search of their vehicle when there is no legal justification for a search. However, once words leave a motorist’s mouth, the effect of those words cannot be taken back. Thus, motorists must understand their rights during an Arizona traffic stop.
Police officers can pull over a vehicle if they have a reasonable suspicion that the motorist committed a traffic crime, or probable cause to believe that the motorist committed a traffic violation. Driving under the influence is a crime, rather than a traffic violation, so officers must only have a reasonable suspicion to stop a car.
Once an officer stops a motorist, the motorist has certain rights. For example, a driver does not need to consent to a vehicle search, and the officer can only search the vehicle if they have probable cause to do so. Similarly, while an officer can ask the motorist some questions, they cannot extend the traffic stop beyond the time needed to address the reason for the stop. In other words, police officers cannot go on “fishing expeditions” by asking motorists question after question unrelated to alleged violation or offense.
Those who have been arrested for an Arizona DUI offense may have a valid defense to the charges, even if a blood-alcohol test revealed that they were legally intoxicated.
Speak with an Experienced Tempe DUI Attorney for Immediate Assistance
If you have recently been arrested for an Arizona drunk driving offense, contact Attorney James E. Novak. Attorney Novak is a veteran Arizona criminal defense attorney with decades of experience handling all types of DUI offenses. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with Attorney Novak, call 480-413-1499 today.