As police departments around the country become more concerned that people may be injured or killed by drunk drivers, they plan specific enforcement initiatives that will detect and arrest drunk drivers. Despite their good intentions, DUI checkpoints and improper procedures during an arrest may cause innocent people to be charged as well. This is why it is important to understand constitutional requirements for a valid DUI arrest.
Rifle area police crackdown on drunk drivers
Local police in the Rifle and Glenwood Springs area of Colorado are expected to increase enforcement efforts of DUI laws. The Colorado State Highway Patrol mentioned that they will be monitoring the Garfield County area with sobriety checkpoints and officers watching the roads for signs of drunk drivers. The operation begins at 6 pm on Friday night and will last until 3 am on Monday morning.
The department that was concerned that during the previous year’s Fourth of July holiday weekend, over 600 drivers were arrested for DUI and 13 people in the state of Colorado died in alcohol related crashes around the same time. As a response, they are launching a campaign that focuses on both public awareness and education, as well as increased arrests of those who are driving while intoxicated. They believe such operations will definitely make the state’s roads safer over time.
What happens at a DUI checkpoint?
Most DUI checkpoints only allow police to stop every single car while the roadblock is operating, and they can ask a few basic questions such as seeing a driver’s license and registration. However, these stops cannot become too intrusive, as many DUI cases at checkpoints may be thrown out if officers deviate too much from published guidelines and procedures. Police are generally also not allowed to use these checkpoints as general crime detection tools where they can discover evidence of other offenses not related to drunk driving. A skilled DUI defense lawyer can look at exactly what happened at a checkpoint and determine if the officers made any crucial mistakes at the time of the stop. Roadblocks and checkpoints are more intrusive than singling out drivers who have clearly committed a traffic violation, so the constitutional standards for a valid checkpoint are much more strict.
Procedures for collecting evidence
For the police to have probable cause to begin an investigation and make an arrest, they need to notice specific signs of impairment that cannot easily be explained away by innocent behavior. There are also procedures that must be followed in every state to legally collect a breath or blood sample to test for intoxication. If significant mistakes are made during this time, the test can be excluded from the state’s case. Even an initial traffic stop can be illegal if the police did not witness an actual traffic infraction that is listed in the state’s driving laws. When a crucial piece of the state’s case cannot be used as evidence, the charges may be reduced or dropped.
Get help from a local lawyer in Colorado
To learn more about DUI laws in Colorado and the possibility of defending against the state’s charges, contact Sands Law Office. The firm assists clients in Rifle and other nearby parts of Colorado.