Phoenix area DUI checkpoints for Memorial Day 2021

by Aaron M. Black • May 27, 2021
Memorial Day DUI Checkpoints 2021
Memorial Day weekend 2021 amid the Covid vaccinations and waning pandemic restrictions begins another DUI hunting season for police agencies across the greater Phoenix region. In 2019 it was the Salt River Area. Other locations have included Baseline Rd and 24th Street, 27th Ave. and Devonshire Ave., and N 24th Street and E Highland Ave.

With cooler and shorter days behind us, at backyard parties and family gatherings some revelers will imbibe too much and drive. They become targets for roving and stationary DUI contact on the Phoenix area roads, rivers and lakes.

Last year, with Arizonians fresh out of lockdown on Memorial Day weekend, DUI arrests totaled 405 and 167 others were arrested on drug DUI charges, an increase over the previous year, reported the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

We will see if Phoenix DUI arrest numbers increase on Memorial Day weekend 2021. No matter the year or the pandemic, Arizona remains a zero tolerance state for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs and the ramifications of a DUI conviction can spoil any holiday experience.

DUI checkpoints and rolling stops

Phoenix DUI CheckpointsThe checkpoints are set up in a variety of locations stopping drivers at random to be evaluated. This technique skirts the Fourth Amendment protecting us from unlawful searches and seizures of property. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they are legal in 1990. Yet the ruling was not unanimous, 6-3, with dissenting Justice Paul Stevens calling them “disquieting publicity stunts.”

Phoenix DUI checkpoints are often set up around a curve so they cannot be seen until it is too late. To catch drivers who see the checkpoint and turn around, an officer is parked to see the evasive move and make a traffic stop.

A rolling stop happens when a traffic officer observes a driver making a traffic infraction such as weaving, driving too slowly, or even a mechanical problem such as no turn signal.

Checkpoints and saturation patrols are used on lakes and rivers too.

Impairment while operating a watercraft

OUI - Operating Under the InfluenceDrinking too much and boating or rafting on Arizona’s waterways is termed an OUI (operating under the influence). It is the principle cause of crashes, deaths and injuries. Arizona Revised Statute 5-395 makes it illegal to operate a powered watercraft or to have “actual physical control” of it.

Actual physical control is defined as an impaired operator or someone who is close to the controls no matter if the craft is running or not. Impairment can be from alcohol, drugs, or vapor.

Law enforcement is looking for reckless acts. These include speeding, failing to wear safety equipment, passengers riding on the gunwales while moving at a speed that causes a wake, and expired watercraft registration. With more than 125,000 watercraft registered in Arizona, the waterways can be crowded on Memorial Day weekend, so being safe is paramount not only for your party but also for others.

Officers enforce boating laws from the Arizona Game and Fish, State Park Department, and the counties where the offense happened and the locations are policed by federal officers and the U.S. Coast Guard, such as at Lake Havasu.

Unlike banning road-going open containers, it is perfectly legal to have open containers of alcohol onboard a watercraft.

Tubers need to stay sober, too. Tubers who are impaired are watched by deputies and they can be detained in the parking lot while getting behind the wheel or driving back home to Phoenix.

How best to behave when stopped

It is always best to be polite to the officer. The officer will ask a leading question, such as how much have you had to drink? The officer is really asking you to convict yourself. Anything you say becomes evidence in the police report. It is crucial to decline to answer any questions. Your license will be confiscated but the officer will provide a temporary replacement.

It is better to invoke these Fifth Amendment protections than lie to police, which is a crime.

Slightly impaired policy

Impairment to the “slightest degree” can be lower than the DUI threshold of 0.08 percent of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) and still will be charged with a DUI under Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381a1. This law also applies to illicit and prescription drugs, including medical marijuana. This law is part of Arizona’s zero tolerance policy.

Determining if a person is impaired to the slightest degree is the decision of the officer conducting the stop based upon the officer’s training and experience. Slight impairment can be different from person to person because of an individual’s metabolism.

Penalties for a DUI conviction in Phoenix Arizona

A standard DUI or OUI, having a BAC of 0.08 to 0.14 percent, is a class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious charge in the misdemeanor range. For a first offense, the penalties are at least one day in jail or up to six months. Fines and fees can total $1,510.50.

The license to drive is suspended for 30 days, followed by 60 days of restricted driving only to work or school. The judge also may order probation for up to five years, alcohol or drug screening, classes and community service, and require the driver to have an ignition interlock device that prevents the engine from starting if the breathalyzer detects alcohol on the user’s breath.

A second DUI offense brings more serious trouble.

Common DUI defenses

A DUI arrest is not necessarily a conviction. The law allows for several defenses.
  • The officer did not have a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop the vehicle or watercraft
  • The breathalyzer test or blood test was inaccurate
  • Failing one or more of the field sobriety tests was the result of a physical condition, not impairment
  • The officer did not properly administer the tests
  • The arresting office did not recite the Miranda Rights advising you of the right to remain silent and to have a defense attorney with you during questioning.

Get legal help fast

The best way to defend yourself is to have an experienced Phoenix DUI defense attorney, such as myself, on the job as soon as possible to challenge the state’s evidence and procedures used to obtain evidence or violate your civil rights.

Aaron M. Black Law has a strong record of aggressively challenging law officers and prosecutors at the beginning of the case to achieve a dismissal of the charges, which is always my goal, or at least to have the DUI or OUI charge reduced.

With me building your defense you will always be talking directly to me, not an assistant, at every stage of your case.

Begin your defense by calling 480-729-1683 at any time day or night, weekends or holidays and I will respond promptly unless I am in trial or in court. Or use my online contact form.

I defend DUI cases in Phoenix federal, state, municipal, and justice courts in and adjacent to Maricopa County.

About Aaron M. Black
The National Trial Lawyers Association rates me among the top 100 trial lawyers in the country. The National Association of Distinguished Counsel places me in the top one percent of the finest lawyers in the nation. And for the 8th straight year, I am named a 2021 DUI Super Lawyer in Phoenix.
 
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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