Many Phoenix residents are familiar with the annual Holiday DUI task force, which consists of increased police efforts to curb drinking and driving throughout metro Phoenix. Valley residents can expect heightened police surveillance on many roads, with officers pledging to be more vigilant in pulling drivers over for otherwise minor traffic infractions. This activity has real consequences; in 2012, DUI task forces arrested more than 4,000 drivers on suspicion of DUI. The 2014 DUI task force starts at Thanksgiving and runs through the New Year Holiday 2015.
If you’ve been drinking and an officer pulls you over, it is important that you know your rights. When the officer asks you whether or not you’ve had anything to drink, you should say “I’m not going to answer any questions or do any tests until I talk to my lawyer.” You are not obligated to answer any of the officer’s questions, and you have an absolute right to remain silent.
Nonetheless, if the officer has reasonable suspicion that you may have been drinking, you might be arrested at one of the roving DUI vans. In this case, call our office’s 24-hour consultation line (602-307-0808) for advice on how to handle the checkpoint. Depending on your criminal background, we may or may not advise you to consent to a blood test to determine your BAC. From there, we’ll work with you to plan your best DUI defense to any charges that may be brought.
Why is it so crucial that you not answer any questions? If your case goes to trial, the rules of evidence stipulate that the arresting officer may not comment on the fact that you invoked your right to speak to an attorney. Thus, his narrative will jump from “I observed the car swerving” to “I arrested the driver”. Not being able to comment on the intervening conversation can give the jury the impression that the officer’s actions were hasty. Speaking to an officer can only strengthen his or her probable cause for arresting you.
If the police do decide to press charges against you, call my office to arrange for a 30-minute analysis of your case. We’ll give you an overview of possible defenses to avoid conviction or to pleas to a lesser charge. With that said, the best defense is to not need a defense in the first place. If you are drinking this holiday season, arrange for alternative transportation. Once you’ve ordered your third drink, put down the keys!
For an immediate response, our office is available 24 hours a day at (602) 307-0808. If you don’t have an urgent matter and would like to get a free consultation, you may send us a confidential email.