Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers.
Send questions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.
Do I have to submit to a breathalyzer at a DUI checkpoint? I see a lot of weird information online, and it looks like in some cases you can refuse a roadside breathalyzer if the officer hasn’t observed you breaking any other laws.
This is an excellent question! Can you refuse to submit and just walk/drive away? No, you cannot. If you choose to refuse the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) you will be arrested for the refusal per Nebraska state statute.
Here’s why: Nebraska state statute states any peace officer may require “any person who operates or has in his or her actual physical control a motor vehicle in this state to submit to a preliminary test of his or her breath for alcohol concentration if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that such person has alcohol in his or her body, committed a moving traffic violation, or has been involved in a traffic accident.”
The traffic violation and traffic accident scenarios are pretty cut and dry. But this particular question falls more into the reasonable grounds category. Reasonable suspicion is the presumption a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed. It is more than just a hunch but less than probable cause.
So in this case, the odor of an alcoholic beverage, slurred speech, and/or bloodshot watery eyes would lead an officer to believe the person may be under the influence of alcohol.
You do have the right to contest the charges but the place for that is not on the street, it’s in a courtroom.
On the intersection of Avenue B and 20th, next to the post office heading toward the hospital: Is that a one lane road? I see people wedging their way to turn right, almost either on the curb or swiping another car! Is this legal?
Avenue B south of the traffic light at West 20th Street has two lanes; one lane for northbound traffic and one turning lane for westbound traffic. There is not an eastbound turning lane so vehicles should not be driving around other vehicles and/or up on the curb to turn.
A little patience goes a long way.