In a press release numbered 6-129, Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office released information about the results of the overnight countywide DUI Wolf Pack operation. The DUI Wolf Pack operation involves officers saturating the roadways looking for drivers intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by drugs.
To be stopped by the DUI Wolf Pack, officers must have probable cause that you committed a traffic violation or reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime. The DUI Wolf Pack operation replaces DUI checkpoints. In a DUI Checkpoint the officers do not need any cause to pull you over other than the fact that you entered the checkpoint.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Florida are moving away from checkpoints and toward saturation patrols because they are more effective and because it is more difficult to contest the legality of the stop. In a checkpoint case, officers must often testify about the operational plan and whether it was followed in the field.
Law Enforcement Agencies Participating in the Wolf Pack
The Wolf Pack operation involved the Patrol Operations Bureau, G4S Prisoner Transportation and the DUI Unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
- Several different local law enforcement agencies were involved in the operation including the following:
- Florida Highway Patrol;
- Clearwater Police Department;
- Gulfport Police;
- Indian Shores Police Department;
- Kenneth City Police Department;
- St. Petersburg Police Department; and
- Tarpon Springs Police Department.
The DUI Wolf Pack operation was conducted from 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27, 2016 through 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, 2016.
Purpose of the Wolf Pack in Pinellas County, FL
The purpose of the DUI Wolf Pack operation is to raise awareness among the public that they might be pulled over and arrested for DUI. The Wolf Pack replaces DUI checkpoints which are more heavily contested in court.
By educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving and the increase in enforcement activities the officer hope to reduce DUI related injuries and deaths.
The operation resulted in 40 criminal charges and 10 DUI arrests which is a much higher number than in a typically DUI checkpoint in Pinellas County, FL. One DUI arrest involved the driver of a motorcycle while the rest involved the drivers of other types of vehicles.
The checkpoint also resulted in the following felony charges:
- 5 Possession of a Controlled Substance (Felony)
- 1 Felony Tampering with Evidence
- 1 Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding (Motorcycle)(Felony)
- 1 Violation of Probation (Felony)
The DUI saturation patrol resulted in eight misdemeanor charges plus additional traffic misdemeanor charges for the following crimes:
- 8 Misdemeanor Driving While License Suspended and/or Revoked with Knowledge
- 4 Possession of a Controlled Substance (Misdemeanor)
- 1 Reckless Driving (Misdemeanor)
- 1 Warrant Arrest (Misdemeanor)
By way of comparison, a recent DUI Wolf Pack operation conducted on December 19 – 20, 2015, resulted in a total of 17 criminal charges for both felonies and misdemeanors.
The operation also resulted in 116 citations for the following offenses:
- 30 Speeding
- 29 Other Non-Moving Violations
- 23 Other Moving Violations
- 17 Driving while License Suspended and/or Revoked with Knowledge
- 8 No Insurance
- 6 Seatbelt Violations
- 2 Open containers
- 1 Underage Zero Tolerance .02 Violation (triggers an administrative action that can be contested)
Total Citations – 116
The stated purpose of the operation was to property damage, injuries and deaths from traffic crashes related to impaired driving. The goal of the Wolf Pack is to educate the public about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and any chemical or controlled substances.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting DUI Wolf Packs continuously throughout the year. Visit our main website to learn more about DUI defense in Pinellas County, FL.