The Law Offices of John Phebus

Weekend arrests demonstrate Arizona anti-DUI measures

Holiday weekends tend to be busy times for Arizona law enforcement officers, and the recent Labor Day weekend was no exception. More than 200 drivers statewide were arrested for various drunk driving offenses before the weekend was half-over.

That number however, may not be as interesting as the tactics and strategies that led to them. The arrests were the result of three factors that police in Arizona use to identify and arrest alleged drunk drivers.

The first such factor is the existence of a law enforcement entity that is dedicated to the goal of removing intoxicated drivers from roads in the state: the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force. The existence of this organization by itself reveals the seriousness with which the state government takes the problem of drunk driving.

The second and third factors are related to one another, and take the form of methods used by the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force as well as by police generally: the checkpoint, and saturation patrols. Checkpoints are used at locations where problems with drunk drivers have been encountered in the past. Saturation patrols are a measure that heavily covers a specific area with a police presence to increase the likelihood of observing and stopping anyone who may be driving while intoxicated.

One such saturation patrol effort, for example, led to more than 400 stops and 27 DUI arrests over the Labor Day weekend.

Checkpoints and saturation patrols can go hand-in-hand. Police manning a checkpoint can, and do, fan out to perform saturation patrols once they finish what they are doing at the checkpoint.

The noteworthy emphasis that police in general, and the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force in particular, place on apprehending people that they suspect of drunk driving does not always mean that the people they stop or arrest are guilty.

There are many legal requirements that must be satisfied in any prosecution for drunk driving, and those requirements may not always be met in every case. Anyone who is accused of DUI in Arizona still has the right to a legal defense, and is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: Tucson News Now, “Plenty of work for DUI Task Force during Labor Day weekend,” Craig Reck, Aug. 31, 2014

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