It’s a serious crime whose penalties can range from a suspended license to significant time in jail. Getting convicted of driving under the influence in Louisiana can impact your life for years to come, showing up on any background check and leaving you unable to get a job. So, as serious as the consequences are, should we allow people with no training in law enforcement be given the power to get someone pulled over?
That’s the question people may be asking after the state of Illinois instituted a program that allows anyone to call the police if they suspect another driver is driving intoxicated. Not only will the police respond to the call and pull the suspected driver over, the caller will get a $100 reward. The program has made national headlines for its debated stance on the subject.
To pull someone over, a police officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion that the person is doing something illegal. While the intentions of the program may be noble, there are potential problems. Giving someone a power like this is a slippery slope. Not only does it open potentially innocent people up to unwarranted stops, it rewards the caller monetarily. What would stop someone from reporting a person they don’t like to make a buck? What’s to stop an officer from using the program to manufacture probable cause? How much freedom are we willing to give up in exchange for safety?
Thus far, no such program exists in Louisiana, but if you’re facing a DUI charge in the state, an attorney can conduct his or her own investigation to determine if there was probable cause to pull you over and whether the officer administered the test properly. If any inconsistencies are found, you may be able to reduce your charges or get them thrown out altogether.
Source: centralillinoispround.com, “DrunkBusters” Pays You To Report Drunk Driving,” May 24, 2014