During the NFL Playoffs, you’ll want a Rochester DUI defense lawyer on your roster. Here’s why: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual DUI enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over1, will be in full swing during February.

Keep a DUI Defense Lawyer in Mind After the Super Bowl

As the 2021 NFL season winds down, many teams have a realistic shot at the Super Bowl. Therefore, as the playoffs begin, many local fans will drown their sorrows or celebrate intensely depending on the outcome of each game. As outlined below, Rochester DUI lawyers have several options when these cases go to court.

During Selective Traffic Enforcement Programs (STEP campaigns), departments redeploy officers to certain parts of town and instruct them to issue lots of DUI or other citations. Grant money covers officer overtime and other expenses. So, many departments, and thus many individual officers, feel extra pressure to issue such citations.

Authorities aren’t just more aggressive in the field during STEP campaigns. They’re also more aggressive in the courtroom. Prosecutors vigorously pursue DUI cases, even if the evidence is weak. The state has almost unlimited resources in these cases. Only an aggressive Rochester DUI defense lawyer can level the playing field in most cases. Usually, there are three critical points in a Super Bowl DUI matter.

1. Reasonable Suspicion for a Stop

Outside STEP campaigns, this portion of a DUI case is usually straightforward. Ordinarily, officers pull over motorists for objective reasons, like an expired tag or speeding. Then, they look for evidence of intoxication, like slow reflexes.

During STEP campaigns, officers often reverse this process. First, they look for evidence of intoxication, such as weaving inside a lane or driving far below the posted limit. Then, they follow the motorist until s/he commits a traffic violation. These low-speed pursuits usually don’t last long. Most people cannot travel more than three or four blocks without committing at least one such infraction.

Most jurors supported such pretext traffic stops back in the day – as long as officers did nothing overtly illegal. Today, many jurors have different attitudes. If officers follow drivers for several blocks, jurors often think they are unfairly targeting them.

Legally, reasonable suspicion is basically an evidence-based hunch. That’s different from a hunch based on evidence, a subtle but significant distinction. Criminal cases are often won or lost based on such subtle details.

2. Probable Cause for an Arrest

Police officers often take shortcuts during these STEP campaigns as well. Information about alcohol consumption, such as the famous “I only had a couple of beers” line, don’t establish intoxication. Instead, officers typically use the walking-a-straight-line test and the other Field Sobriety Tests.

The defendant’s performance on these tests usually is irrelevant, at least at this juncture. Officers invariably testify that the defendant “failed” the tests, even if they performed them almost flawlessly.

Evidence issues often arise if the officer skips the tests. Officers commonly take this shortcut during STEP campaigns. After one or two tests, officers often stop to make arrests faster and get back out on the street.

Probable cause is a relatively high standard. Poor performance on one test, as opposed to the entire three-test battery, might be insufficient. That’s especially true if the test was an unapproved one, like the reciting-the-ABCs test or the finger-to-nose test.

3. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt in Court

About 80 percent of New York DUIs involve chemical tests. From a technical standpoint, high enforcement campaigns during the winter months are very hard on Breathalyzers. So, this evidence is weaker than usual.

Modern Breathalyzers are very touchy devices. The more use they get, the more maintenance they need.

Frequently, law enforcement agencies don’t adjust their Breathalyzer maintenance schedule to account for this uptick.

Additionally, Breathalyzers are temperature sensitive. This sensitivity includes the air temperature and the subject’s body temperature. The air temperature in New York often drops rapidly, especially around sundown. As for body temperature, every one-degree increase usually increases BAC levels by about 8 percent. Temperature and calibration issues are critical in .08, .09, and other borderline BAC cases.

Our Rochester DUI Defense Lawyers Are Here For You

Enjoy the Super Bowl and be safe this year. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester DUI defense lawyer, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. Home, after-hours, and jail visits are available.


[1] https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/drive-sober-or-get-pulled-over

The information in this blog is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.

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