REDDI Report, What is it and how can it be used against you? For those of you who have never heard of a REDDI report, it stands for Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately. A REDDI report is a way that citizens can report drunk drivers to law enforcement.
How does this impact DUI cases in Colorado? Does this give law enforcement enough probable cause for a traffic stop based off of a REDDI report? REDDI reports can be used as legal justification for law enforcement to investigate a traffic stop for a possible DUI if the person who makes the report is deemed “reliable.”
How do officers determine who is reliable?
People who identify themselves are considered reliable. People who identify themselves in a REDDI report are considered “citizen informants” and are more reliable than anonymous tip because they open themselves up to legal consequences if the report is determined to be false. In the era of technology with caller ID and smartphones, the District Attorney’s Office generally know who is making the call – whether they want to be identified or not!
However, not all REDDI reports are anonymous. Some people choose to make anonymous tips when contacting police about suspicious behavior. It is up to the caller to identify themselves or not. The Supreme Court has acknowledged that anonymous tips may provide reasonable suspicion necessary for officers to stop you. However, it also states that anonymous tips are lower on the end of reliability, so more information is required to raise this reasonable suspicion.
For example, there is an anonymous REDDI report about a drunk driver. An officer locates the car the matches the description of the REDDI report. The officer could follow that suspected vehicle for a period of time in order to corroborate the anonymous tip with his own observations of intoxicated driving or observing a traffic violation. This second observation by the officer allows for probable cause to stop someone.
In some cases, reviewing courts across the country have determined two things 1) that reliable witnesses (individuals who identify themselves are considered high on the reliability scale) who report people who they think may be driving under the influence do not need to state details as to why they think the person is intoxicated and 2) officers need not see a traffic violation or signs of drunk driving prior to making a stop if the witness is reliable. This becomes important in issues of appeal.
These REDDI reports are designed to keep the community safe from drunk drivers as well as allow citizens to aid law enforcement in identifying these kinds of crimes. It is important to know what you can do to help law enforcement as well as how law enforcement’s recourses can be used against you.
The moral of the story? It doesn’t have to be an officer that observes evidence of drinking and driving. Any person on the road or just within viewing distance of any possible drunk driver can incriminate that person driving and possibly lead to an arrest.
Kaysville City v. Mulcahy, 943 P.2d 231, 235-36 (Utah App.1997)
Raymond E. Robinson, III, v. The State of Wyoming, S-10-0050, A.D. 2010 (Wyoming Sup. Court 2011)
By Shannon Lynch