Summer months are a time for getting out and about, celebrating holidays and events, and finding reprieve from school and work. While summer is certainly cause for celebration, it is also one of the more dangerous times of the year, especially on public roads and highways.
In addition to increased accident risks created by young drivers on summer vacation, out-of-town tourists who aren’t familiar with local roads, and increased traffic, summer also sees a considerable spike in the number of alcohol-related auto accidents.
As drunk driving accidents commonly plague summer and summer holidays – including Labor Day, Fourth of July, and Memorial Day – law enforcement agencies, including those across Dayton and the state of Ohio, increase their focus on stopping and arresting motorists suspected of driving under the influence. In fact, the Ohio State Highway Patrol has announced is new summer-long high visibility enforcement initiative, which features an increased focused on stopping driving exhibiting signs of impairment, roving regional tactical squads, and public awareness campaigns to reduce roadway risks.
The increased focus on DUI/OVI during these months is critical to public safety, and it can lead to a substantial increase in DUI arrests. Although getting drunk drivers off the road is an objective for law enforcement, their overzealousness during increased enforcement campaigns can lead to concerning issues when it comes to unlawful stops and questionable allegations.
Having represented many clients charged with DUI during periods of increased enforcement, our legal team at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC knows what to look for in these cases, including:
- Reasonable suspicion – Whether officers had sufficient reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over is a top concern. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion that a motorists is involved in some sort of criminal activity, including driving under the influence, in order to detain them (stop their vehicles). If officers do not observe lane drifting, speeding, near collisions, traffic infractions, or other signs of suspicious activity or crime, a lack of reasonable suspicion may result in an unlawful stop.
- Probable cause – The U.S. Constitution protects us from unlawful searches and seizures. These include unlawful searches of property and arrests without justifiable reasons, such as physical signs of impairment, suspicious activity, evidence of alcohol or drug use, or other objective indicators. Without probable cause, any evidence officers obtain – including chemical test results – could be declared inadmissible in a case. Police must have a lawful basis to make an arrest.
- Chemical test results – Evidence obtained through breath and blood tests are not always 100% accurate, and they can be challenged. This is especially important during periods of high enforcement, where increased use of testing devices, including breathalyzers, may cause them to be improperly maintained and calibrated or used improperly by an officer who has little to no training in using them – which can result in erroneous results.
These are only a few of the elements we evaluate when defending clients against the charges and penalties they face. If you or your loved one is arrested for DUI/OVI this summer, we encourage you to learn more about your rights and potential defense strategies by contacting our team for a free consultation.