California DUI lawyer news
December approached, and with it the season for California DUI drunken drivers -- again.
For all the California DUI enforcement of a strong California law, California DUI driving under the influence is a problem that is not improving and indeed seems intractable to safety advocates.
But California DUI police continue to focus on it, arresting hundreds of California DUI folks this year in the weeks before Christmas.
It's a proactive approach because for traffic investigators, California DUI drunken drivers mean accidents, victims, families and, invariably, grief.
So this year, the Concord California DUI police traffic unit hit the road at the same time as the California DUI drunken drivers.
"We, as a group, decided we were going to adjust schedules to work weekends, strictly to do DUI enforcement," said Concord Sgt. Sam Staten, the traffic unit supervisor. At least two California DUI officers were on anti-DUI patrol on every weekend night of the entire month.
All eight of the unit's California DUI officers were on duty for the kickoff of the county's annual Avoid the 25 campaign, so named for the county's 25 California DUI law-enforcement agencies, from Dec. 14 to Jan. 1.
The agencies arrested 40 percent more suspected California DUI drunken drivers and previous arrestees on outstanding DUI-related warrants.
Concord California DUI police arrested 90 people during December, compared with 46 last year. Officers also towed 188 vehicles and arrested or cited 157 people for driving with no license or while their licenses were suspended -- many for previous DUI-related charges. One of his California DUI officers made 17 California DUI drunk driving / dwi arrests; another, nine.
The reasons for the California DUI drunk driving / dwiarrest increases vary, said Contra Costa sheriff's Cpl. Robert Duvall, who coordinates the Contra Costa Avoid the 25 campaign. The campaign was a day longer this year, but that's not the main reason.
"I think part of it is, I had more of my people out hunting," Duvall said. There were 30 to 40 more, largely because the departments' staffs are closer to full strength. Also, the weather generally was good.
A broader reason is that California DUI drunk driving / dwi law enforcement leadership has continued to respond to what some say is an intractable problem.
"It's a long-term recognition of the problem and increased resources devoted to solving the problem," said Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. Marty Neideffer, a spokesman for the Alameda County campaign. "California DUI / drunk driving / dwi is one of those crimes that law enforcement believes it can have a direct impact on.
"The theory is, if you devote resources, you peel off as many drunk drivers as you can, you can almost make a direct correlation to saving someone's life."
Even drivers with blood-alcohol levels just below the so-called legal limit of 0.08 are dangerous, Staten said. That's why California's California DUI drunk driving / dwi law enables officers to stop any driver they deem unsafe.
For instance, a California DUI drunk driving / dwi officer sees one or more of the classic manifestations of a drunken driver, such as speeding, weaving, driving with no headlights or high beams, driving with the window down in cold weather or leaning forward and squinting.
The California DUI drunk driving / dwi officer questions the driver, may administer standard field sobriety tests and then uses a California DUI drunk driving / dwi portable, preliminary breath device to determine if the person will likely have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
If the California DUI drunk driving / dwi driver has a lower level, the officer still can conclude that the person is a "less-safe" driver and prohibit the person from driving away. The vehicle can be towed and stored for later pickup.
California DUI drunk driving / dwi Officers also have extensive anti-DUI training overall. Some officers are trained to be drug recognition experts, known as DREs, to detect whether a driver has used a stimulant, depressant or some other type of drug.
Although Mothers Against Drunk Driving has given California's law an "A" grade, the number of California DUI drunk driving / dwi alcohol-related deaths increased every year through 2006. That proves deterrence alone is not enough, say safety advocates.
Nationally, MADD is part of a coalition of advocates such as insurance companies and even beverage distillers advocating that all first-time California DUI drunk driving / dwi offenders be required to install ignition interlock devices on vehicles.
The devices require California DUI drunk driving / dwi drivers to blow to start the vehicle and will prevent a vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.
"The basic problem we have, especially with repeat offenders, they continue to offend," said Silas Miers of MADD. "The majority don't. It's basically because they can," even after their licenses are suspended.
California law says California DUI drunk driving / dwi judges may order the devices but are not mandated to require them for first-time California DUI drunk driving / dwi offenders. The devices are required for a driver caught behind the wheel with a license that has been suspended or revoked for California DUI drunk driving / dwi.
About 100,000 are in use across the nation, but 1.4 million people are arrested for DUI yearly.
California DUI drunk driving / dwi DUI & DUI-related arrests
California DUI drunk driving / dwi 2006 2007
Contra Costa County California DUI drunk driving / dwi 325 463
Alameda County California DUI drunk driving / dwi 1,114 1,211