Sunday, December 2, 2007

California DUI Holiday Checkpoint information

California DUI attorney - California DUI lawyer news for Checkpoints for Christmas

For California DUI law enforcement agencies, holidays are the perfect time to turn on the heat to stop soused drivers. Some California DUI enforcement efforts, such as the countywide "Avoid the Twelve" campaign, focus on holidays, when parties are plentiful and people are more likely to indulge in an extra drink.

Modesto has had three California DUI drunk driving-related deaths this year.

California DUI Checkpoints ensure that the DUI message is "out there," says the state Office of Traffic Safety. "The primary purpose is public awareness. We would rather save lives than arrest people."

Research has shown that highly publicized, highly visible and frequent California DUI sobriety checkpoints reduce impaired-driving fatal crashes by 18 percent to 24 percent, according to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.

This evidence hasn't stopped one group, the American Beverage Institute, from lobbying against checkpoints. California, the Institute claims, relies too heavily on California DUI checkpoint programs. Sarah Longwell, the beverage group's managing director, says resources spent on checkpoints would be better spent on roving patrols, known as saturation patrols, where officers in patrol cars flood an area to find California DUI or California drunk driving - intoxicated drivers.

"Checkpoints don't deter hardcore drunk drivers and repeat offenders, who are the vast ma- jority of drunk-driver-caused alcohol-related fatalities," she said. "Officers should hunt down drivers showing signs of intoxication, as opposed to all standing in one place waiting for the drunk driver to come to them."

Longwell is the first to admit that her agency represents restaurants, which benefit when customers have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer watching the game.

Local law enforcement officers strongly disagree that California DUI checkpoints are a waste of time, but many say saturation patrols do lead to more California DUI arrests and the need for more California DUI criminal defense attorneys.

"Both send out the message," said officer Mayolo Banuelos, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol. "But roving DUI efforts have more units. They make more stops. Roving is better."

State grants to local agencies specify how many California drunk driving checkpoints and saturation patrols agencies must hold. Modesto police must set up 18 California DUI checkpoints and 16 roving patrols from October to September.

"If we focused more on patrols, we would probably get more DUIs out of it," he said. "But you just can't measure the educational element. For a lot of people, it's their first chance to see a police officer up close."

California DUI Checkpoints let agencies, such as the CHP, hand out brochures about driving safety. Friends often call each other to warn about California DUI checkpoint locations. Daughtry's main complaint about checkpoints? They take too long.

From October 2006 through September, the Modesto police held 18 California DUI checkpoints and made 42 DUI arrests from the 11,939 vehicles that passed through them, according to Modesto police Sgt. Ed Steele. During the same time period, the agency had 17 saturation patrols and made 50 arrests; the agency doesn't track the number of vehicles patrols stop. That's about 2.3 arrests per night for California DUI checkpoints, compared with 2.9 arrests for roving patrols.

Unlike Modesto, Turlock's state-funded grant requires police to hold twice as many patrols as California DUI checkpoints.

From January to September, Turlock's California DUI checkpoints netted nine California DUI drivers out of 1,753 vehicles. This year's roving patrol numbers were unavailable. But in 2006, Turlock had roughly 12 California DUI patrols, stopping 75 vehicles and resulting in eight California DUI arrests. Both efforts cost about the same per night. Per car, that's a 16 percent arrest rate for roving, as compared with a half percent for California Drunk Driving checkpoints.

The California DUI police probably get more DUIs from roving patrols. But the California DUI checkpoints are very effective and useful from a PR standpoint.

California DUI lawyers are in for a challenging holiday.