Nearly 400 Arizona residents may be dealing with some serious legal issues this week after police saturation patrols and checkpoints netted 389 DUI arrests during the Fourth of July weekend. Last week, we reported on what these efforts would mean for drivers and this year, like others in the past, these efforts resulted in hundreds of arrests.
Compared to last year, there were 28 more people stopped and arrested for DUI-related offenses this holiday weekend. There were also drivers cited for multiple offenses in one stop. Interestingly, Arizona police reportedly stopped nearly equal numbers of sober drivers and alleged drunk drivers in their crackdown. Whether these sober drivers were stopped by chance at checkpoints or police believed they had some unfounded reason to suspect they were drunk is not yet clear.
While the numbers of arrests this year are comparable to last year, there were more drivers arrested for certain offenses. These include:
- DUI Extreme (140 this year, 101 last year)
- DUI Misdemeanor (339 this year, 312 last year)
- Underage DUI (23 this year, 19 last year)
These offenses in particular can be very serious for the drivers who are charged. They could be facing suspended driving privileges, significant fines, increased insurance premiums and potentially even jail time if convicted. These consequences can have a long-term and damage impact on a person’s family, career and lifestyle.
While these charges are among the most serious, every arrest and charge for an offense related to drunk driving should be taken seriously and handled effectively. Arizona motorists who were caught up in the increased enforcement efforts last weekend may be wise to speak with an attorney who can explain what options are available and help develop a defense strategy. While authorities like to publicize the fruits of their labor, the fact is that every driver has the right to defend themselves against charges by scrutinizing arrest procedures, challenging evidence and seeking out witness statements that may be successful in having charges reduced or dismissed.
Source: Phoenix New Times, “Arizona DUI Task Forces Rack Up 289 DUI Arrests Over Independence Day Weekend,” Matthew Hendley, July 7, 2014