Officials to step up patrols for holidays

KINGMAN - The Western Arizona Taskforce will be patrolling the roads through the beginning of the New Year looking for impaired drivers.

Kingman Police Cpl. Dan Spivey said the task force, made up of officers from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the Kingman Police Department, as well as officers from La Paz and Yuma counties, has made 13 arrests in Mohave County for driving under the influence since just before Thanksgiving.

The average blood alcohol level of those drivers was .154 percent, Spivey said.

Statewide, the 17 state taskforces has made 610 arrests for misdemeanor drunken driving and 90 arrests for felony drunken driving. Another 42 minors in possession or under the influence arrests were made.

The local weekend DUI command centers will rotate between Brake Masters and Wells Fargo, both highly visible locations along Stockton Hill Road, which is meant to remind drivers that law enforcement is out there, Spivey said. The local taskforce is made up of the Sheriff's Office, the Department of Public Safety and tribal police in addition to Kingman Police.

Spivey advised those who imbibe to plan their way home before the evening begins or risk significant penalties. Those arrested for DUI face an administrative hearing before the Motor Vehicle Department, which could include a suspension of driving privileges.

At the time of arrest, police will take the driver's Arizona license and issue a 15-day temporary license.

Most first-time offenders receive a 90-day suspension of their license. The driver is also stuck with towing and impound fees, and even first-time offenders can be forced to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Criminal penalties can range from jail time, a minimum fine of $250 plus surcharges and an additional $250 assessment to the Arizona DUI abatement fund.

Those who refuse the BAC test almost always lose their license for a year.

Holiday tips

The Western Arizona DUI Task Force recommends these simple tips for a safe holiday season:

• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver.

• If you're impaired, use a taxi or call a sober friend or family member.

• If you happen to see a drunken driver on the road, call 911.