The 4th of July is known as a holiday when people kick back and relax with friends and family. Over this holiday, it is inevitable that some people will have too much to drink. Knowing this fact, each year Arizona police set out to make a statement against driving under the influence by focusing their efforts on strictly enforcing the state’s DUI laws over the holiday break.
According to a recent news report, 1,726 law enforcement officers participated in a state-wide enforcement effort over the holiday. In total, police made over 11,000 traffic stops over July 3rd and 4th, and arrested nearly 300 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Of those, 62 of the arrests were for “extreme DUI” in which the driver’s blood-alcohol content is alleged to be greater than .15.
Police Were Looking for Reasons to Stop Drivers
Given that the state’s law enforcement officers were on high alert for drivers under the influence, it is likely that many of the traffic stops police made were motivated by “gut instincts” rather than articulable facts supporting a finding that the driver was under the influence. However, under Arizona law, police officers cannot pull over motorist for no reason or act on a hunch when determining which motorists to stop. Doing so violates the motorist’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Depending on the circumstances, a police officer must possess either reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop a motorist. In order to establish either reasonable suspicion or probable cause, a law enforcement officer must be able to point to articulable facts that would indicate a motorist is violating a traffic law or criminal statute.
Even if a traffic stop is valid at its inception, the stop may become tainted if the officer extends the duration of the stop beyond the time necessary to investigate the reason for the stop. For example, if a motorist is pulled over for excessive window tint, the police officer cannot request the driver take a breath test without evidence suggesting the driver was intoxicated.
If a police officer is unable to justify a traffic stop, or unable to explain why the length of a stop was extended, then any evidence obtained during that stop, including the officer’s observations of the defendant behind the wheel, may be suppressed in a pre-trial motion. Thus, it is no surprise that it is through a pre-trial motion to suppress that many Arizona DUI cases are won.
Have You Been Arrested and Charged with an Arizona DUI Offense?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with an Arizona DUI, Attorney James E. Novak may be able to help. Attorney Novak is a dedicated Arizona DUI defense attorney with decades of experience representing clients charged with Arizona DUI crimes. He understands the seriousness of the consequences facing his clients and does everything he can to ensure that the allegations made against them have as little impact on their future as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Arizona DUI attorney, call 480-413-1499 today.
Other Articles of Interest from The Law Office of James Novak’s Phoenix DUI Blog:
DUI And No Insurance: What You Should Know, Phoenix DUI Law Blog, May 1, 2018
Marijuana DUI: Financial Penalties in Arizona, Phoenix DUI Law Blog, April 1, 2018