Arrests for drunk driving account for approximately 25% of all arrests made by the Jamestown Police Department. The number of drunken driving arrests and alcohol related motor vehicle accidents has continued to rise over the past several years.
The Jamestown Police Department aggressively enforces the driving under the influence (DUI) and speed laws throughout the year with special attention to the holiday seasons as part of a statewide effort to reduce deaths and injuries on Rhode Island roads. Police agencies from across Rhode Island are out in force as part of "Operation Blue Riptide", an enforcement and education campaign funded by the State's Highway Safety Office and the New England Region of the National Traffic Safety Administration. The Jamestown Police Department works in partnership with State Police and police from neighboring cities & towns to enforce the DUI and speed laws across jurisdictions.
Throughout the year additional patrols will be assigned exclusively to enforce DUI and speed laws in the Town of Jamestown. As such, Jamestown makes a significant number of DUI arrests considering the small population that lives on the Island. Most of the Town’s DUI arrests tend to occur when the Island’s bars let out after 1 a.m. Nearby to this business area is where the Island’s two main roads intersect, and it is also the area where most DUI investigations commence. At this time of the night a vehicle will often times be stopped initially for a laned roadway violation or a speeding violation. Of course, neither of these violations by themselves will give rise to an inference that the operator is incapable of safely operating the motor vehicle.
In the vehicle in motion phase, the police officer will observe an individual’s driving behavior, and look for clues claimed by NHTSA to be consistent with impaired driving. In DWI or DUI cases, these driving behaviors include swerving, driving erratically, driving on the wrong side of the road or driving with the lights off.
In DWI or DUI investigations, the personal contact phase of the investigation takes place after the police officer has already made the decision to stop an individual and initiate an investigation. This phase includes face-to-face contact with the driver. During this phase, the police officer will attempt to gauge whether the driver is sober based on his appearance, behavior, smell, balance, coordination, his manner of speaking, and any statements he may make. DWI and DUI criminal defense lawyers know that this phase of the investigation can lead to unreliable conclusions. After all, the police officer has not previously met the suspect, so it is questionable whether he can determine what the suspect is “normally” like.
In any event, in DUI or DWI investigations, if the police officer believes that the suspect is intoxicated after phase one and phase two are completed, he may then move into phase three, where the police officer will administer standardized field sobriety tests. The tests outlined by NHTSA are standardized, meaning that they are conducted the same in all DWI or DUI investigations in Jamestown and anywhere. The three standardized tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg stand, and the walk and turn. DWI and DUI criminal defense attorney also know that problems in the administration of the test are common. A surprising number of officers do not follow the guidelines set out by NHTSA.
DWI and DUI law can be specialized and it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are charged with a DWI or DUI in Newport County. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to aggressively challenge each phase of the police’s investigation, with the goal of achieving the best possible result in your case.