After the death of an 18-year-old Arizona State University student in Tempe last weekend, authorities there are reportedly planning to crack down on alcohol-related laws. The accident reportedly occurred at an apartment complex near the university’s campus. The student in question apparently fell from the balcony of an apartment where a party was being hosted by a local fraternity.
Alcohol was apparently involved in the incident. According to sources, the fraternity that hosted the party that night is not acknowledged by the university. As a result of the accident, authorities are set to lock down on enforcing underage drinking and DUI laws. As part of the increased enforcement, officers will increase their monitoring of locations known to be places where alcohol consumption takes place and making arrests when warranted.
While there are obviously benefits to increased enforcement efforts such as this, it is also worth saying that there also risks from the perspective of criminal defense. Whenever officers ramp up efforts to catch criminals in the act, there is the risk of overzealous police work leading to—ironically—poor police work.
Whenever anybody is charged with DUI, it is important for him or her to work with an experienced advocate to carefully scrutinize the actions of police officers from the beginning of their investigation to the end. Because prosecutors base charges mostly on police records, it is imperative to hold them to high standards when building a solid criminal defense case. When police officers fail to perform their work correctly, it weakens the basis for criminal charges and gives the defendant a better chance of minimizing penalties. This is not opportunism, but the role of defense in the criminal justice system.
Source: Phoenix News Times, “Tempe Police Plannign “Heavy Enforcement of Drinking Laws After ASU Student’s Death,” Matthew Hendley, April 4, 2014.