Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and the Labor Day holiday in September all result in an increased push for law enforcement to arrest impaired motorists. The Michigan State Police indicate that "stepped up drunk driving enforcement will take place in all 83 Michigan counties during the Fourth of July drunk driving crackdown." Local police over the Fourth of July holiday each year use federal funds and state grants to increase patrol efforts to try to catch drunk drivers. The 2015 crackdown was scheduled for not just July 4th weekend but through July 12 and a similar crackdown is coming for Labor Day.
These added patrols mean more chances of being arrested for impaired driving. In 2014, 236 motorists were arrested for impaired driving in Michigan because of extra police on the roads over the Fourth of July. The problem is, law enforcement has to justify the expense (and the use of state and federal funds) and this could lead to police aggressively pulling drivers over as well as potentially resulting in abuses of people's rights. If you are cited for drunk driving during a special enforcement period, or at any time, you need to put together a strong OWI defense. This is especially true if your rights were violated by law enforcement during an illegal traffic stop or if your BAC was measured without probable cause.
Common Police Techniques During Enhanced OWI Enforcement Periods
Police use a number of different techniques during enhanced enforcement periods designed to catch impaired drivers. AZ Central recently reported on some of the different steps officers will take including:
- Setting up safety corridors: These are areas where there are high volumes of traffic and where police resources are targeted. Local law enforcement agencies typically pick locations where they know a lot of people will be, especially if those locations are near popular bars and drinking establishments.
- Discreet police cars. New "ghost cars" allow graphics to blend in to the exterior colors of the law enforcement vehicles. When the graphics are illuminated, they are reflected in order to make clear that the vehicle is a police vehicle. The more discreet cars that will be used will allow police to go unnoticed until they have identified someone who is driving drunk. The "ghost cars" are also supposed to spark conversation to draw attention to the issue of impaired driving. However, since added enforcement of drunk driving is supposed to act as a deterrent, it seems counter-intuitive to hide police cars on the roads rather than make them apparent.
These are just a few of the different techniques that police have revealed may be used during enhanced enforcement periods nationwide over summer and fall holidays. Drivers need to be aware of the increased likelihood of more police on the roads and should be sure they know their rights if they are stopped on suspicion of impaired driving by a law enforcement officer.