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Police intensify DUI/DWI enforcement during holiday period

Virginia is geared up to engage in some intensive law enforcement efforts against drunk drivers this Labor Day weekend. The campaign against DUI/DWI offenders, dubbed Checkpoint Strikeforce, is in its 16th year of operation. The state intends to intensify its patrols and increase the numbers of checkpoints. Drunk driving is the cause of one-third of all holiday traffic deaths, according to the authorities.

There are nearly 200 agencies joining in the effort. Authorities say there will be 150 sobriety checkpoints and 520 saturation patrols during the holiday weekend. In 2016, there were 262 deaths from alcohol-impaired traffic incidents. This year is running 8 percent higher than in 2016.

Sobriety checkpoints have been legal ever since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared them as being constitutionally proper many years ago. Although the state's effort to save lives is admirable and necessary, it is always a concern of defense attorneys that the authorities may overreact. DUI attorneys are positioned to see that some indiscriminate arrests are made under hectic holiday circumstances. The intensification of the campaigns implemented by law enforcement can be an invitation for a few officers to go easy on their duty to enforce the constitution as vigilantly as the drunk driving laws.

When the evidence is overwhelming, those accused of DUI/DWI offenses in Virginia will do well to discuss with their attorneys the benefits of cooperating in the process by negotiating an agreement with prosecutors. However, in some cases the evidence is borderline or weak, and in those instances counsel and the accused must work hard to determine the viability of potential legal defenses. In addition, where the police have obviously stepped over the boundaries of constitutional propriety, it will possibly be more prudent and appropriate to enter an aggressive defense against the charges.

Source: wavy.com, "150 DUI checkpoints to be in place for holiday weekend", Evanne Armour, Aug. 31, 2017

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