More Michigan DUI Arrests Likely with Loosening Covid-19 Restrictions

On February 1st, 2021, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer allowed restaurants in Michigan to reopen at 25 percent capacity. Although the 25 percent capacity limit was initially extended, Whitmer recently announced that capacity limits will soon be further loosened.

Springtime Brings the Biggest Surge in Drinking Since the Holidays

The loosening of the Covid-19 restrictions for restaurants and public spaces comes at a time when people usually start going out more. Spring is on the way. The weather is getting warmer. Restaurants will be setting up patios. And major sporting events will be taking place.

Although Michigan still has very tight restrictions on the number of fans attending live sporting events, the NCAA basketball tournament is a huge event that people usually go to bars, restaurants, and friends’ houses to watch. You can bet that bars will be packed to whatever capacity is allowed for March Madness. Other sporting events happening during the spring that people flock to bars to watch include NBA and NHL playoffs, the start of Major League Baseball, and The Masters.

Michigan State Police Put in Place DUI Crackdowns

All of this means more drinking and driving. To combat surges in drunk driving during times of increased drinking, the Michigan State Police and local police departments typically schedule more officers to be on traffic patrol. They call these drunk driving crackdown campaigns, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”  The surges in patrols put more officers on duty on the roads with specific orders to initiate more traffic stops with heightened awareness for drunk or drugged driving.

How Are Drunk Driving Stops Initiated?

Most drunk driving arrests start with a traffic stop. To initiate a legal traffic stop, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed or observe a violation of the motor vehicle code. This can be as obvious as swerving all over the road or as subtle as expired tags. Other common ways drunk driving arrests are initiated include calls from a third party about someone’s driving, welfare checks of people sleeping in their cars, and accidents involving property damage and personal injury.

How Do Michigan Police Investigate Drunk Driving After the Stop?

Regardless of how a drunk driving arrest starts, officers typically follow the same process after initiating the stop or reporting to a welfare check or the scene of an accident. If the officer suspects alcohol or drugs, the officer will almost always ask the driver if alcohol or drugs have been consumed. The officer will then as the driver to step from their car so that Standardized Field Sobriety Tests can be administered. Occasionally, an officer will ask the driver to state the alphabet or count backwards, or even administered a horizontal gaze nystagmus test when the driver is still seated in the car.

Regardless of how one performs on these tests, the officer will usually ask the driver to submit to a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). If there is enough alcohol in the driver’s PBT sample, the officer will make an arrest and take the driver for a secondary, more accurate breath or blood sample to be used to charge the driver with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).

If I Was Arrested for a DUI in Michigan, What Should I Do Next?

The first thing someone should do after being released from a DUI arrest is call the best Michigan DUI attorney. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to guide you through things you can do right away that will help your case, like immediately writing down everything you remember about the day of the arrest.

There are also things that the attorney should do right away, like request all evidence and give you proactive recommendations that will give you a better chance at the best result in your DUI case. The DUI attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm have been helping people minimize the consequences of a drunk driving charge for over the 30 years.

If you are facing a DUI charge anywhere in Michigan, the Barone Defense Firm team is ready to help.

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