Spring has sprung in Tucson, and the area is a popular destination not only for college students on spring break, but also for baseball fans enjoying spring training games, and for basketball fans swept into March Madness. Combine these with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and all of these events set the background for excessive drinking.
To combat these threats, the University of Arizona Police Department will be stepping up efforts to arrest drunk drivers. Through a $35,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, UAPD will have extra officers stationed at university events, including basketball and football games.
Joe Bermudez, a UAPD spokesman, explained that the additional officers are not a result of any increased incidents around campus. (According to Tucson Police, more than 1,110 DUI’s were charged in 2012). Rather, the department believed that public safety would be best served with more officers focusing on DUI violations.
Drunk driving can be charged as a misdemeanor in Arizona, which subjects a driver to more than $1000 in fines and assessments, and could lead to jail time. Moreover, offending drivers could be required to include an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Because of these penalties, it is essential to have legal representation if charged with a drunk driving offense.
It should be noted that University of Arizona police officers approach drunk driving much like other law enforcement agencies in Arizona, in that they look for common clues that would give them probable cause to stop a driver. These include swerving or lane integrity problems, erratic driving patterns, and excessive speed.
It remains to be seen how drunk driving will be affected with the new grant.
Source: DailyWildcat.com, Grant leads to more UAPD officers focusing on DUI violations, February 26, 2013