Whereas Memorial Day is the first major holiday weekend of the year in the United States that is frequently considered the start of summer, Labor Day is generally viewed as the last holiday weekend of the season when the days are their longest. As a result, many people throughout the greater Las Vegas area will be looking forward to one last outdoor barbecue or one more late night out that probably involves more than one alcoholic beverage.
The inclination to relax and have additional drinks increases the likelihood of motorists driving under the influence (DUI). As a result, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has already stated that it is planning sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the Valley for two days of the holiday weekend.
While the number of total DUI arrests by the LVMPD has seen a steady decline since 2012, do not think that this means police officers are not still actively looking for drunk drivers. This past February, Lt. Todd Raybuck of the LVMPD told KNPR-FM that a large majority of DUI arrests are southern Nevada citizens, with officers frequently catching people driving drunk between the Vegas Strip and valley neighborhoods.
It is in your best interest to plan ahead before any activities that will involve alcohol consumption this weekend. Try to arrange a ride or cab if you will be drinking, but it can be even better if you are able to completely stay off the road. Even if you are not planning on drinking, you will still share the road with others who probably have.
The combined efforts of checkpoints and saturations patrols will increase police presence to help stop more alleged drunk drivers. DUI checkpoints are referred to in the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) as “administrative roadblocks.” Under NRS 484B.570, such roadblocks must satisfy the following requirements:
- The roadblock must be established at a point on the highway clearly visible to approaching traffic at a distance of not less than 100 yards in either direction;
- A sign must be placed near the centerline of the highway at the entrance to the roadblock displaying the word “Stop” in letters of sufficient size and luminosity to be readable at a distance of not less than 50 yards in the direction affected by the administrative roadblock, either in daytime or darkness;
- At least one red flashing or intermittent light, on and burning, must be placed at the side of the highway at the entrance to the roadblock, clearly visible to the oncoming traffic at a distance of not less than 100 yards; and
- Warning signs must be placed at the side of the highway, containing any wording of sufficient size and luminosity to warn the oncoming traffic that a “police stop” lies ahead, and a burning beam light, flare or lantern must be placed near the signs to attract the attention of the traffic to the signs (the signs must be placed at a distance of not less than one-quarter of a mile from the entrance to the roadblock if it is in a rural area or 700 feet from the entrance to the roadblock if it is in an urban area).
Saturation patrols, on the other hand, involve large numbers of officers being deployed to specific roadways. Between the obvious checkpoints and the visible increased police presence of saturation patrols, the hope is that many people are discouraged from even getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
If you are planning on drinking this Labor Day weekend, the one surefire way that you can absolutely guarantee you will not be arrested for DUI is to simply not drive drunk. Should you have anything to drink, either stay where you are or arrange to have somebody pick you up.
In the event you have been arrested because you misjudged the amount of alcohol you consumed or you believe the breath test used by police officers produced a false positive, you should immediately contact an experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney. An arrest for drunk driving is not the same as a conviction, and a lawyer can fully investigate your case to determine whether a checkpoint was illegally set up or some other law enforcement error could result in your charges being dismissed.