While DUI arrests have fallen in recent years, there are several factors that lead DUI attorney Garrett T. Ogata to believe that “an increase in law enforcement personnel and budgets should have a significant impact on the number of DUI arrests in Las Vegas in 2018.” DUI arrests in the city have been lower because of understaffing in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the availability of ride-share services such as Lyft and Uber. However, the city has announced plans to add up to 700 new police officers in the next two years, which should place more officers on the streets to catch people who are driving under the influence. Finally, the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in Nevada means that police officers are now getting better training at detecting driver impairment.
More police means more DUI arrests
Clark County’s sales tax rate was increased with the tax going into effect in early 2017. The sales tax was increased in order to pay for more police officers. LVMPD announced its intention to hire between 600 to 700 officers by the end of 2018. The reason behind the increased number of officers is to help the city to better address crimes. More police officers on patrol likely will equate to a greater number of DUI arrests during 2018.
Why Las Vegas DUI arrests had previously fallen
In 2012, there were 7,700 DUI arrests in Las Vegas. That number dropped by 40 percent over the next two years. In 2014, the number of arrests had fallen to 4,500. However, this decrease did not indicate that there were fewer drunk drivers on the road. During the same year, DUI arrests made by the Nevada Highway Patrol increased by 23 percent from 1,800 in 2012 to 2,200 in 2014. Law enforcement agencies attributed the decline in DUI arrests by the LVMPD to having fewer officers on the street because of understaffing caused by budgetary constraints. With the passage and enactment of the sales tax increase, the LVMPD has been able to add more officers. As a consequence, more DUI arrests should be expected to happen in 2018.
Ride-share services are making the roads safer
The advent of ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft has led to a decrease in the number of drunk driving accidents across the nation. Both services are available in Las Vegas, allowing people to use the services to get home after they drink instead of getting behind the wheels of their vehicles. In 2015, the number of alcohol-related accidents and deaths fell by 25 percent. Mothers Against Drunk Driving attributed the drop to the availability of ride-share services. These apps are leading to an increase in responsible drivers and helping to improve safety on the roads.
Legalization of recreational marijuana and DUIs
Since the use and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes was legalized in 2017, police officers are now undergoing better training to help them to identify drivers who are impaired. In addition to driving while under the influence of alcohol, a driver may also be charged with a marijuana DUI offense if an officer believes that the driver is impaired by marijuana. Whether people are charged with an alcohol-related DUI offense or a drug-related DUI offense, the potential consequences are largely the same.
Get help from an experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Las Vegas, it is important for you to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who handles drunk- and drugged-driving cases. Garrett also mentioned “The most important factor in getting a positive outcome in your case is the quality of representation that you have working for you.”An attorney may analyze the facts of your case and evaluate the evidence in order to determine the best defense strategy to use. A DUI conviction can lead to long-lasting consequences, and it is important to mount a strong defense. Contact DUI attorney Garrett T. Ogata to schedule an appointment so that you can learn more about your rights.