To combat the deadly problem of impaired driving, the Eugene Police Department, along with Oregon State Police and Springfield Police Department will be out in force on July 4, conducting a DUII enforcement.
Every day of the year, police officers seek out impaired drivers in an effort to prevent crashes and the needless fatalities, injuries, and property damage that result. One of the tools available to police officers conducting any criminal investigation is the search warrant. In the case of impaired driving, search warrants are entirely separate from the Implied Consent process which sanctions drivers for refusing to provide a non-intrusive breath sample following a lawful arrest for DUII. The "No Refusal" process is just a slight modification to existing (and already used) protocol.
In order for blood to even become part of the investigation, a driver will have already:
1) been stopped for a traffic infraction or involved in crash
2) shown signs of impairment
3) further demonstrated impairment via Field Sobriety Tests and then
4) been lawfully arrested and provided an opportunity to provide a breath sample after hearing the Implied Consent Rights and Consequences.
Then, and only then, if the driver refuses a breath test, does the search warrant process begin. It requires the officer to articulate probable cause which would be reviewed by a prosecutor and a judge. A blood draw would only be conducted if authorized by a judge who has reviewed the particular circumstances of that particular case. The draw would be conducted by trained medical personnel, not a police officer.
To clarify some common misconceptions:
1) There will not be any checkpoints involved. Checkpoints are not legal in Oregon, and their effectiveness in combating impaired driving is limited. There will instead be extra officers out looking for signs of impaired driving, and stops will be made on a basis of probable cause.
2) Drivers stopped during the operation will only be asked to submit to a breath test if they are arrested for DUII. To be clear, there will be no demands for roadside breath tests from any driver, much less from every driver.
3) Search warrants are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by both the on-site prosecutor and the judge.
4) EPD’s efforts to inform the public about this event are meant to educate drivers about the dangers of impaired driving, and that law enforcement takes seriously their responsibility to protect the lives and property of travelers on our roadways. Our ultimate goal is to deter all instances of impaired driving first, and to successfully prosecute those who elect to make the dangerous decision to drive under the influence second. Simply put, our goal is to reduce crashes, not increase arrests.
The enforcement is similar to other saturation patrols like Cinco de Mayo, but this is the first time that EPD has conducted a “No Refusal,” enforcement.