Several local law enforcement agencies and the Utah Highway patrol participated in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign over Labor Day weekend. Across the state, 78 people were taken into custody during the campaign. It remains to be seen how many will actually be charged with DUI.
According to reports regarding the checkpoints conducted in northern Utah, one location had five separate stations and stopped 10 random vehicles at a time. Once 10 vehicles were pulled over, any others were not stopped until there was an opening. As for the vehicles that were pulled over, officers had a mere 90 seconds to ascertain whether a driver might be driving under the influence.
Drivers who did not show signs of intoxication such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol were allowed to leave. If a driver was suspected of being impaired, that person was taken aside to be given field sobriety tests. If the officers believed that a driver failed those tests, then that person was taken into custody.
Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable. Many physical conditions and other factors can cause an individual to fail these tests. Further, there is always a possibility that officers will not properly conduct the tests. Either eventuality could mean that any charges that might be filed against one of these 78 drivers — or any Utah resident for that matter — could be dismissed. This is just one of the reasons why it is vital for anyone who was arrested and was or could be charged with DUI should seek the guidance and assistance of criminal defense counsel as soon as possible.
Source: standard.net, “Northern Utah police make at least 17 DUI busts over Labor Day weekend”, Mark Shenefelt, Sept. 7, 2016