Tuesday, August 21, 2007

California DUI police step up efforts, DUI checkpoints

San Diego California DUI Defense Attorney news

California DUI enforcement to be awarded in San Diego on September 14, 2007.

14 people were arrested for California drunk driving and 96 citations were issued in a California DUI sobriety checkpoint that screened 1,238 vehicles Saturday night on Mariposa Road in Victorville, California.

The Avoid the 25 DUI Task Force is focusing on drunken driving through Labor Day, and 17 more DUI checkpoints and 55 saturations are planned.

Also, the California Highway Patrol announced Monday it is redoubling its traffic safety efforts during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend in hopes of ending the summer on a more positive note.

The announcement comes in the wake of a particularly tragic Fourth of July holiday, when 18 people died on California roadways in a 24-hour period.

The California DUI checkpoint was conducted by the task force, which includes all 25 law enforcement agencies in San Bernardino County.

One of the main goals of the checkpoint was to make drivers think about drinking and driving, and the hope was that if drivers saw the California DUI checkpoint, they would be less likely to drink and drive.

One driver who went through the California DUI checkpoint told deputies that she was returning from a club and that she did not drink because she drove by the California DUI checkpoint on the way to the club.

Thirty people who passed through the California DUI checkpoint did not have licenses or had suspended licenses, and 28 vehicles were impounded for 30 days.

One woman, whose license was suspended for previous drunk driving, tried turning around to avoid the checkpoint. Deputies pulled her over, impounded her car for 30 days, and she will spend a minimum of 10 days in jail, Mattke said.

Analyst Tom Firey of the Cato Institute said police checkpoints are legal because no one is singled out. “Because you are searching everyone coming down a strip of road, it’s not an improper search,” he said.

Last year, 46 people were killed in traffic collisions during the Labor Day weekend, according to the CHP, eight of them died in crashes within the CHP's Inland Division.

In addition to lives lost, 1,749 people were arrested statewide for driving under the influence. Officers in Inland Division arrested 152 people for DUI.

To re-enforce the importance of following the rules of the road and saving lives on the state's roadways, CHP Commissioner Mike Brown will patrol along Interstate 5 from Woodland to San Diego during the maximum enforcement period.

As summer draws to a close, sheriff's deputies, police officers and California Highway Patrol officers in Monterey County will crack down on those who celebrate with alcohol and then drive.

Avoid the 18, named after the number of law enforcement agencies in the county, plans in-city California DUI patrols and CHP freeway saturation for the Labor Day weekend. The four-day campaign starts Friday, Aug. 31 and ends at midnight Monday, Sept. 3.

Police in Soledad plan a Sunday, Sept. 2, checkpoint from 8 p.m. to midnight, said Lt Jaime Fernandez.

“We hope to catch people coming back from San Antonio Lake," Fernandez said. "It's a busy weekend for camping, and we want to take DUI suspects off the road before they get onto the freeway.”

The event is set for Front Street and Dixie Street.

King City and Monterey CHP squads will assign nearly all their available officers to the road for the weekend, said CHP Officer Larry Starkey, while Sgt. Andy Miller reports that Salinas police will send out officers on California DUI overtime pay.

California DUI officers will travel to San Diego on Sept. 14 to accept an award from the California Law Enforcement Challenge competition. Avoid the 18 tied for third place in the multi-jurisdictional category with Avoid the 14 in San Francisco.

The award-winning campaign has three secret weapons:

1) Officer Jesus Yanez of the King City police. He will be on duty all weekend, said Capt. Bruce Miller. Yanez, a regular patrol officer who responds to other calls, has made 90 California DUI arrests so far this year, often pulling in two or three suspects a night.

2) Cellular telephones. “The public can help us in finding DUI suspects by phoning 911 when they see a driver who's all over the road, stopping for no reason, signaling left but turning right, driving more than 10 miles below the speed limit or tailgating,” requested Sgt. Andy Miller of the Salinas Police Dept., campaign coordinator for the sponsoring Monterey County Chief Law Enforcement Officer's Association.

3) Designated drivers. “When you go out, you always plan where you're going, what you're going to wear and who you're going with, so also plan on how to get home safely by designating a friend to remain perfectly sober and drive everyone else home,” advised Lt. Earl Lawson of the Cal State University Monterey Bay Police Dept.

Police arrested 69 California DUI suspects during last year's Labor Day Weekend crackdown, a 13 percent rise over the previous year. No California DUI deaths were reported in either year.

New provisional statistics from the CHP show that the county dropped by 27 percent in California DUI injuries and by 25 percent in California DUI deaths in the five years between 2002 and 2006.

Avoid the 18 is part of a nationwide summer California DUI prevention effort sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness. The California Office of Traffic Safety funds the Monterey County enforcement blitz through NHTSA. There are now 34 similar countywide crackdowns in the state.

California DUI officers hit the roads again. California DUI defense lawyers prepare.