According to a recent news report, Arizona law enforcement agencies stepped up their DUI enforcement efforts over Halloween week in an attempt to curb the number of Arizona DUI cases. The statistics from the enforcement effort have not yet been released; however, last Halloween, there were a total of 364 Arizona DUI arrests made over the Halloween holiday. This figure was down significantly from 2017, in which there were 447 DUI arrests on Halloween.
In the recent article, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety encouraged everyone to have a good time, which, he acknowledged, may involve consuming alcohol. However, he urged those who drank alcohol to take an Uber, Lyft, or some other form of transportation rather than get behind the wheel.
The period beginning on Halloween and going through the New Year is a time when law enforcement is out in droves searching for those who are driving under the influence. While motorists are advised to arrange for alternate transportation when they have had too much to drink, it is also vital they understand their rights when there is an increased police presence on the road.
Sometimes, police officers initiate a traffic stop based on an objective fact about a motorist’s driving or their vehicle; for example, an expired tag, a burnt-out light, or tinted windows. However, other times, an officer pulls over a driver based on a subjective belief that they were intoxicated. This may include an observation that the driver momentarily drifted out of their lane, or was not maintaining a consistent speed.
In either case, an officer will use whatever information they can during the traffic stop to support their predetermined belief that the driver is intoxicated. Thus, nervousness, indirect answering of questions, or even the smell of fresh cologne or perfume may be used by the officer as evidence of intoxication if he believes it was being used, for example, to mask the smell of alcohol or marijuana.
Officers may also try to get a driver’s consent to search their car. Consent cannot be coerced, and must be voluntarily given. Also, unless they have arrested the driver, police cannot search a vehicle unless they have probable cause to do so, at which point they do not need a motorist’s permission. Thus, agreeing to allow an officer allows them to bypass the probable-cause requirement.
Have You Been Arrested for an Arizona DUI?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with an Arizona DUI crime, contact Attorney James E. Novak for immediate assistance. Attorney Novak is a preeminent Tempe criminal defense attorney with extensive experience defending those charged with all types of DUI offenses, including extreme DUI, super extreme DUI, and felony DUI. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Novak understands how the other side thinks, and how they approach cases. With this knowledge, he can better negotiate on his clients’ behalf and, if necessary, develop a successful trial strategy. To learn more, call 480-413-1499 to schedule a free consultation today.