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Colorado DUI enforcement may change this summer

The Memorial Day holiday is just over a month away, and it will likely be the first "Heat Is On" campaign for 2013. In 2012, Colorado's law enforcement program was responsible for hundreds of drunk driving arrests. This year, it is likely that the number of arrests will increase.

A number of factors contribute to this forecast. First, the way police officers are able to obtain search warrants may quickly be changing. Many law enforcement agencies are resorting to e-warrants, which are essentially created from an officer's patrol car and sent directly to an awaiting judge (or search warrant site) where a decision can be made about whether a blood draw can be ordered.

This is an added dimension that was not available in past years, and allowed some drunk drivers to avoid criminal penalties by refusing chemical tests, or opting for blood tests that would take an extended amount of time to arrange (which would allow time for a person's BAC to drop). It also may change how law enforcement conducts its "No Refusal" strategies

Second, the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely puts additional scrutiny on improper blood draws. The case involved the question of whether law enforcement could conduct a blood draw against a person's will without first obtaining a search warrant. In its ruling, the Court essentially rejected the notion that law enforcement must act quickly to obtain evidence of a person's BAC, and that obtaining a warrant frustrates that objective. Instead, the court held that except for emergencies, police officers must obtain a warrant to uphold the Fourth Amendment.

Source: LA Times.com, Supreme Court rules sobriety blood tests require warrants, April 18, 2013

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