Saturday, December 13, 2008

Big California DUI checkpoint & California drunk driving enforcement efforts

California DUI criminal defense attorneys report CHP to crack down on drunk drivers for holidays - Ventura County Avoid the 14 Campaign will operate its threeweek crackdown on driving under the influence from midnight Fri., Dec. 12 through midnight on New Year's Day.

Four sobriety checkpoints will stop motorists, and the CHP will flood the freeways with officers.

The driving public can help enforcement agencies to remove drunk or drugged drivers from the road before they hurt or kill themselves or an innocent person during the coming holiday season.

Motorists are encouraged to call 911 if they see a driver who seems to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to Cmdr. Martin Meyer of the Oxnard Police Department, coordinator of the Avoid the 14 countywide DUI crackdown, a driver may be impaired if he or she is swerving, driving too fast or too slow, driving with headlights off at night, driving with the turn signal on all the time, screeching to a halt at a stop sign or stop light, and/ or signaling one way and turning the other.

Motorists who call 911 will need to give their location, which way they are driving, a description of the dangerous driver's car and its license plate, and how the other person is driving. Callers can remain anonymous.

Avoid the 14, named after the number of law enforcement agencies in Ventura County, arrested 449 DUI suspects over last year's holiday season, a jump of 56 percent from the previous year's 287. Two people died in alcohol-related crashes, compared with no deaths the previous year.

The California Office of Traffic Safety funds all Avoid campaigns through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

California dui criminal defense lawyers at hear Uniformed police and deputy sheriffs massed Friday in Clovis police headquarters to let drinkers know they will be watched when they drive in coming weeks.

The news conference announced the beginning of a campaign called "Avoid the 21."

Clovis Police Chief Janet Davis said the warning refers to the number of participating agencies from Fresno and Madera counties. In Fresno alone, almost 100 officers will be watching for drunken drivers, Capt. Greg Garner said. Any other officer will report wobbly drivers, too.

Davis, Garner and others repeated the expression "zero tolerance."

That doesn't mean no drinking, they said. It means that law enforcement will not tolerate drinking that impairs driving. Drivers will be arrested if alcohol, marijuana or any other drug is responsible for bad driving.

The legal level beyond which one is presumed intoxicated in court is almost irrelevant, officers said. What counts is the amount of alcohol that makes an individual driver woozy.

"Drunken driving is a misnomer," Davis said. "It doesn't mean falling-down drunk."

For one person, it may take six drinks and for another just one drink to justify arrest.

Police will be watching bars. Sgt. Eric Eide said before the conference that police already have distributed fliers to warn bars about the enforcement push.

Law officers stressed several points to drivers:

Take a sober driver to any party. If that designated driver drinks, return home with someone else.

Call 911 whenever you see a driver weaving or driving as if drunk. Police will try to find the driver.

Capt. Roy Huerta of the California Highway Patrol in Fresno said 17,000 people die each year from accidents tied to alcohol.

Garner said Fresno area deaths have declined 42% over the last two years, an improvement, but any accident leaves many harmed by grief alone.

"If you drink [and drive], you are not a nuisance," Garner said. "You are a criminal."

District Attorney Elizabeth Egan recalled 13 people her office prosecuted in deaths from drunken driving. She urged drivers, "Don't cause that grief for families."

The state Office of Traffic Safety finances programs across California, including the Fresno and Merced areas.

California Drunk Driving Criminal Defense Lawyers at believe Law enforcement agencies in Santa Barbara County are teaming up to crack down on drunk drivers this holiday season.

For the next three weeks, drivers statewide can expect to see more officers, patrol cars and sobriety check points on the roads.

The California Highway Patrol said small steps can make a big difference when it comes to highway safety.

"Put the cell phone down, watch your speed, watch your following distance, don't drink and drive, designate a driver and always, always think safety while you are out there this holiday season," said Officer Dan Barba with the California Highway Patrol.

Officers said the increase in travelers and holiday parties makes the roads especially dangerous this time of year.

DUI Lawyers in California: