According to the York Daily Record, state police in York County made 747 DUI arrests in 2012, which is the most made in York County, and perhaps in the state, in any given year. State police troopers are focused on stopping impaired drivers in York County, whether they are driving drunk at night or driving under the influence of drugs during daytime hours. In recent years, law enforcement officials have seen an increase in the number of drivers under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs, with marijuana being one of the most common types of drugs found during DUI traffic stops.
This phenomenon is occurring not just in York County, but statewide, with statistics showing that 31% of the total DUI arrests made in Pennsylvania in 2012 involved drug use, for a total of 14,000 DUI-drug arrests. This percentage increased from 28% of the total Pennsylvania DUI arrests made in 2011. Pennsylvania DUI attorney Steven Kellis can also attest to this increase in drug-related impaired driving arrests, which he witnesses on a daily basis in the cases that he handles.
Aside from police officers who are well-trained in DUI cases and dedicated to stopping drunk drivers, York County also boasts a district attorney who has developed a comprehensive toxicology protocol for officers to follow. York County District Attorney Tom Kearney sends blood samples drawn from suspects in DUI cases to a forensic lab near Philadelphia, which automatically tests the samples for drugs as well as alcohol. Reportedly, over the half of the test results come back positive for drugs. As a result, York County has the largest number of DUI-drug arrests in the state on a per-capita basis.
Another way that law enforcement officials in York County have focused on the drunk-driving problem is to set up periodic checkpoints lasting about 20 hours. The number of checkpoints that can be organized each year is largely dependent on federal funding; in 2013, York County’s budget provides for four DUI checkpoints, at an estimated cost of anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. Roughly 15-25 people tend to be arrested for DUI and related offenses during these checkpoint events, who all face the potentially severe consequences of a Pennsylvania DUI conviction.
The dedication of the York County state troopers to stopping impaired drivers appears to be successful. In addition to the high volume of DUI arrests by law enforcement in York County, DUI-related crashes decreased from 138 in 2011 to 121 in 2012. Likewise, the number of DUI fatalities decreased from four in 2011 to one in 2012. While this is good news for the safety of motorists in York County, your Pennsylvania DWI lawyer must remind you that those accused of such crimes are still innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
While law enforcement authorities are making strides in the fight against drunk driving, at least in York County, they still need to be mindful of the rights of those persons who are accused of drunk or impaired driving. If a police officer deviates from arrest or search protocols, a person’s rights may be adversely affected, and evidence may be tainted. Unfortunately, these violations happen all too often, and people need to be aware of the consequences of such violations.
If you are accused of drunk or impaired driving in the state of Pennsylvania, a Pennsylvania DUI attorney will investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, and determine whether law enforcement officials performed their job in an appropriate and legal manner. Any irregularities in police actions in your case can lead to defenses that may minimize or even eliminate the potentially severe repercussions of a DUI conviction. Therefore, it is essential that anyone who is accused of such a crime in the state of Pennsylvania immediately enlist the services of a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer for help, as quickly as possible following an arrest.