Gilbert Chamber of Commerce

East Valley DUI Task Force - What to Know

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November 06, 2015
Gilbert Holiday DUI Task Force
With the 2015 Holiday Season weeks away, people can expect to see the Gilbert DUI Task Force in full effect and on the road until early January. The primary focus of the task force is to get drunk drivers off of the road, and they take drunk driving particularly serious during the holiday season. With more people on the roads during the winters in Arizona, brings more people getting behind the wheel after having possibly one to many drinks. This causes concern for the safety of all drivers on the road, including the individual that made the choice to drive.  
About the East Valley DUI Task Force
The Gilbert DUI Task Force (overall known as the East Valley Task Force) consists of several different law enforcement agencies that devote officers, equipment and vehicles to the unit. This particular Task Force is one of the largest DUI enforcement programs in the nation. It consists of about a dozen local law enforcement agencies who plan each saturation enforcement event several weeks in advance. They'll saturate an area and stop motorists for even the slightest traffic violation. That violation gives the officer making the traffic stop probable cause to poke his or her head into a driver's open window, shine a light into their face, look at their eyes, smell their breath and inquire as to whether the driver has consumed any alcoholic beverages. Any indication that the driver has consumed any amount of alcohol will prompt a DUI investigation. At this initial stage of the traffic stop is when it would be best for the driver to be thinking of the option to speak with his or her DUI criminal defense attorney.  Below explains how remembering what to do or say and what not to do or say can have a critical impact.

Task Force Command Post
The agencies participating in the task force set up mobile command posts in a large, easily accessible and conveniently located parking lot. It usually consists of large vans or converted mobile homes that are owned by the participating agencies, such as Gilbert Police Department. Even a judge remains on call for purposes of signing search warrants. A fax machine is made available for sending and signing the warrants should a suspect refuse to provide a breath or blood sample. Some of the officers at the command center are even licensed phlebotomists. Taking blood samples at the command post eliminates the necessity of transporting a DUI suspect to a hospital to have blood drawn. By taking suspects to the command post, considerable time is saved, and officers can return to their saturation patrol much more quickly. As many as 150 officers participate in the holiday saturation patrols.

Unmarked vehicles
Police officers assigned to the task force will be using both marked and unmarked vehicles. One of the partnering jurisdictions just took possession of three new unmarked SUVs that the holiday task force will be using.

DUI checkpoints

The Gilbert DUI task force also participates in DUI checkpoints. Many law enforcement agencies in the country participate in these. At the checkpoints, the DUI task force will set up roadblocks for purposes of brief detentions to quickly check licenses and tags. This allows for a brief interval when the officer can see the driver's eyes and smell their breath while also giving the officer an opportunity to glimpse inside of the vehicle in case something illegal is in plain view.

The legality of DUI checkpoints

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these DUI checkpoints are legal, however, law enforcement isn't permitted to stop every vehicle. Stops must be random. But, it appears to be perfectly legal for law enforcement to stop two out of every three vehicles at a DUI checkpoint. Law enforcement is also required to publish advance notice of its intention to set up a DUI roadblock and advise of its location, date, beginning time and finishing time.

If the officers think you've been drinking
The first thing that most officers do in a DUI investigation is ask you to submit to standardized field sobriety tests. They're highly subjective, and your performance may be audio and video recorded. An officer can not order you to take field sobriety tests, but with a stern and commanding demeanor, they'll ask you to take them. The law doesn't require you to take these tests. So, if you've consumed any alcohol at all, politely refuse to take them. That includes blowing into a portable breath testing device. If you do take them, it's highly likely that you'll be giving the prosecution more evidence to convict you with.

The Arizona Implied Consent Law
Arizona has one of the strictest implied consent laws in the country. You gave your consent to blood alcohol testing the moment you took possession of your driver's license so long as an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you've been driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within the last two hours. You can refuse to take that test too, but as opposed to field sobriety testing, there are actual legal consequences for refusing blood alcohol testing. You'll be ordered to surrender your license, and your privilege to drive can be suspended for a year. 

If you've been arrested for a DUI in Gilbert, don't sit on your rights. There are very short time limitations to contest your license suspension. An experienced Gilbert DUI lawyer can file the appropriate paperwork for you and obtain a hearing date on your suspension. The Gilbert DUI lawyer can also represent you throughout your DUI court case. Act quickly if you've been arrested for DUI and retain your Gilbert DUI lawyer. Time is of the essence.
Bryan Young, Media Director
(602) 307-0808