Unfortunately, many drivers were arrested for DUI over the Halloween weekend. As one of the three major “drinking holidays,” it is a well documented fact that DUIs increase over Halloween weekend. With this in mind, remember that police used every weapon in their arsenal to catch people drinking and driving. This means doing anything from stepping up patrols to setting up checkpoints. In Denver, the police employed a new mobile enforcement tool known as the “BAT” van. This vehicle contains the breath alcohol testing machine used for evidentiary purposes, which is different from the smaller preliminary alcohol screening device carried by standard patrols. These machines are considered more accurate and therefore their use in the field to catch DUI suspects presents a new advantage for law enforcement. Such tests are generally only used after a person has already been arrested. Now they can be used prior to making an arrest. When it comes to times of increased DUI enforcement, it’s important to both plan ahead and to know your rights.
Checkpoints: Planning Ahead and Knowing your Rights
DUI checkpoints must be publicized. However, compliance with this requirement does not mean that they must be widely publicized. It generally means that they are buried in the back pages of a local newspaper with all of the other information of public record. For this reason it is a good idea to do an online search for checkpoints in your area on the night you go out.
It’s also important to plan on not driving if you plan on drinking. This means arranging a taxi, designated driver, or making use of a ride sharing app such as Uber or Lyft.
It’s also important to know your rights. While DUI checkpoints have been upheld as constitutional by the United States Supreme Court, there are still limits on what officers can do in a suspicionless checkpoint. These are outlined in procedure manuals and other documents. Remember that despite the imposing presence of the checkpoint, the police still need probable cause to arrest you, and they need to show some basis for suspecting you of driving drunk before they make you submit to any chemical or field sobriety tests. Also remember that under new Supreme Court precedent, the police must obtain a warrant to require you to submit to a chemical test of your blood. You may refuse to do so. Though you will likely still be forced to submit to a test, refusing either forces the police to do their job right and obtain a warrant, or it takes away their favorite end round the 4th amendment—contrived consent.
Contact a Denver DUI Attorney
While it is preferable to avoid a DUI arrest altogether, if you are one of the increased number of people who was arrested this Halloween weekend, you need the help of the experienced DUI defense attorneys at Tiftickjian Law Firm. We know the best strategies for fighting your case, whether you were sucked into a checkpoint, or caught up in the increased patrols. You have rights. And it is possible that they were violated. We will fight to protect those rights.