Based on official state records, DWI arrests in Raleigh and the surrounding towns are down a staggering 40% over the last two years. This in no way means that the number of impaired drivers has decreased that amount. Here are three reasons that we’ve seen such a drop off in these arrests:
1. Uber and Lyft
These ride-sharing apps have seen incredible success over the last few years, and thousands of our citizens utilize them. The legal community acknowledges that these companies have helped keep impaired drivers off the road, but their impact is hard to objectively say. A significant study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that there is no association between Uber and the number of subsequent traffic fatalities, whether measured in aggregate or specific to drunk-driving fatalities.
2. DWI Investigations and Trials are Difficult for the Police
Ask any lawyer or prosecutor in a criminal courthouse which types of cases are the most difficult to try, and almost all will say DWIs. So many different areas of law apply in a DWI case: reasonable suspicion to stop a car, probable cause to arrest, expert opinion of eye tests, chemical analysis evidence, post-arrest bond issues, etc. To be an adequate DWI police officer, you must have a working knowledge of the law surrounding all of these topics and be able to testify about them under oath. Not only do they need to understand the law and testify about it in crowded courtrooms, but most DWI cases take place at awkward times and last many hours.
It can be so overwhelming that many officers have avoided starting these investigations all together.
3. A Huge Shortage of Police Officers
The largest factor contributing to the decline in Wake County DWI arrests is simply a large number of vacancies at all of our police departments. There are literally thousands of openings for police men and women all over North Carolina. I was recently told that there is over 70 vacancies at the Raleigh Police Department alone. Why? The national climate towards police and the definition of their role in society has changed recently. This has brought with it a higher level of scrutiny, most notable in criminal investigations where almost everything is video recorded. No one would want their workplace mistakes to be recorded and sent to new outlets and published on the internet. This is a concern of young people who would have otherwise considered a career in law enforcement.
If you or anyone you know has any questions about DWI charges you may be facing or need a Raleigh DWI lawyer, please don’t hesitate to contact Saad Law. We would be more than happy to provide you with a free consultation about your specific case.