Expect Increased DUI Enforcement around St. Patrick’s Day
With March comes St. Patrick’s Day – a holiday when many people, Irish or not, come out to watch parades and toast a Guinness or two. With the crowds, limited parking, and drinking, this is the perfect weekend for rideshare drivers to earn some extra money. However, there are always people who fail to call an Uber and, instead, decide they should drive their vehicles home after a day of revelry.
St. Louis police agencies know that St. Patrick’s Day can bring out an increased number of impaired drivers. They are ready to join law enforcement in cities across the U.S. in ramping up enforcement efforts to stop and arrest intoxicated drivers. Once arrests are made, prosecutors will be ready to issue charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI). If convicted of DWI, you can face serious penalties, including the suspension of your driver’s license, fines, probation, and even possible jail time.
Often, when you think of increased efforts to catch drunk drivers, you might think of sobriety checkpoints, where officers set up a roadblock that drivers must pass through. However, in recent years, Missouri has largely defunded sobriety checkpoints, and most law enforcement agencies have turned to another tactic – called saturation patrols – to try to arrest more drunk drivers.
A saturation patrol involves having a larger number of officers in a small geographic area – often, an area where drunk drivers are likely to be. For example, on St. Patrick’s Day in the St. Louis area, officers might gather outside popular Irish bars or in the Dogtown neighborhood, which is known for its celebration of this holiday. The officers keep watch for anyone who appears to be driving while impaired, and more officers mean the chance to stop more drivers.
Common Problems with Saturation Patrols
While often considered more effective and constitutional than sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols have their own potential flaws. Officers are expecting to see drunk drivers, so they might imagine they see a driver swerve when, in reality, the driver merely touched the wheel. This can lead to traffic stops without the necessary reasonable suspicion that a driver has violated the law, which violates the driver’s constitutional rights.
If a traffic stop is unlawful, the right DWI defense attorney can fight to have all evidence from the stop excluded from a DWI case, which can include:
- Breath or blood test results
- Field sobriety test performance
- An officer’s observations of intoxication
- Open containers in the vehicle
If you are arrested on St. Patrick’s Day – or any other day – you want a skilled defense lawyer examining the details of your arrest and possible defenses.
Contact Our St. Louis DUI Defense Attorneys for Help Right Away
Hopefully, knowledge of an increased police presence will deter people from driving after drinking on St. Patrick’s Day. However, there will certainly be some people who end up arrested for impaired driving. If this happens to you or a loved one, you should immediately speak with an experienced DWI defense lawyer at Bruntrager & Billings, P.C. Contact us online or call 314-646-0066 to discuss your DUI case and how we can help.