What exactly is a REDDI report, and how can it be used against you? For those of you who have never heard of one, it stands for “Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately.” A REDDI report is a way for citizens to 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 on 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.”
“Reliable” vs Anonymous Reports
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 tips 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 knows 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 not as reliable, so more information is required to raise this reasonable suspicion.
For example, let’s say an anonymous REDDI report comes in about a drunk driver. An officer locates the car that 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 determine two things:
- Reliable witnesses (individuals who identify themselves) 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
- 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.
REDDI reports are designed to keep the community safe from drunk drivers as well as allow citizens to aid law enforcement in identifying these types of crimes. It is important to know what you can do to help law enforcement as well as how law enforcement’s resources can be used against you.
Is a REDDI Report Enough to Warrant an Arrest?
No. A REDDI report will give police enough probable cause to have the driver perform a roadside sobriety test. If the driver refuses to do the roadside test, he or she will be arrested. The driver will also be arrested if he or she takes the roadside test but fails. In the case of a REDDI report being filed and the police have identified the car and pulled the driver over, the only way to walk away without being arrested is to pass a roadside test.
Behavior that May Warrant a REDDI Report
If someone spots another driver doing something out of the norm on the road, they can call the police and file a REDDI report. Among other things, this might include:
- Appearing to be drunk
- Turning with a wide radius
- Nearly striking an object or vehicle
- Weaving, swerving or drifting
- Driving significantly below the posted speed limit for no obvious reason
- Braking erratically
- Accelerating rapidly
- Driving at nights with no headlights on
- Responding slowly to traffic signals
- Straddling the center of the lane or driving with the left tires on the center lane
Information You’ll Need When Filing REDDI Report
When a driver calls in a REDDI report, he or she will be asked by the dispatcher to give their exact location (including the road they’re on and the direction in which they’re driving). The dispatcher will also ask for a description of the vehicle and the suspicious activity that caused them to call the police.
Be Aware of Citizen Informants
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.
Have you been the subject of a REDDI report or are you facing DUI/DWAI charges in Colorado? Colin Bresee can help. Call today: 303-625-9386.
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