Wednesday, December 24, 2008

California DUI "blitz" to scare motorists from driving drunk in California

San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers , San Diego California DUI criminal defense attorneys, San Diego California Drunk Driving criminal defense lawyers , and San Diego California DUI criminal defense attorneys are told 2 Saturday night DUI checkpoints in Sonoma County resulted in six drunken-driving arrests and 15 cars confiscated from improperly licensed drivers, authorities said.

The arrests were just a quarter of those reported Friday night when 24 motorists were arrested in the countywide campaign against drunken driving during the holiday season.

One of Saturday's checkpoints ran from 7 to 11 p.m. in Sonoma near Highway 12 and Verano Road, and officers from 11 local agencies helped Sonoma police with the enforcement, said Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Doug Schlief.

Officers spoke briefly to 1,416 drivers. Of those, 79 were asked to pull into a parking lot for a longer conversation, and 49 of those motorists were given tests to see if they driving under the influence.

Three arrests were made, Schlief said. Also, one driver was arrested on suspicion of a drug violation, and six drivers were cited for driving without a license or with a suspended license. Those drivers lost their cars for 30 days.

CHP officers ran a similar checkpoint at the same time in southern Santa Rosa near Santa Rosa Avenue and Todd Road.

Almost 600 drivers passed through the point, and three were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, CHP Sgt. Robert Mota reported.

CHP officers also gave 17 citations to drivers who were unlicensed or had suspended licenses, and impounded nine cars.

The checkpoints are part of the traditional holiday enforcement to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities due to drunken drivers.

Authorities have made at least 116 arrests for suspicion of drunken driving since the enforcement campaign began Dec. 12.

Every local agency participates, and the effort is known as the "Avoid the 13" campaign because there are 13 agencies in the county, including Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College police.

As well as periodic checkpoints, added officers are specifically patrolling the county for impaired drivers.

Funding for the extra enforcement comes from a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Alameda County's law enforcement officials arrested 245 people for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the first three days of the three-week "Avoid the 21" anti-drunken driving holiday crackdown.

Figures cover from the first minute of Friday, Dec. 12, to midnight Monday, Dec. 15.

The total is down 7 percent from last year's 265 arrests at this time during the campaign, said Livermore police Lt. Mike Peretti, a campaign coordinator.

Impaired drivers have killed no one in the county so far.

The multi-jurisdictional effort ends on New Year's Day.

Peretti has advice for the public as the weekend approaches.

"People who drink and drive let their egos dictate their actions. They're too stubborn or embarrassed to ask for a designated driver or call a cab," he said. "Even the smallest amount of alcohol affects the body. It's simple; if you have a couple of cocktails or glasses of wine at dinner, hand over your keys."

Two sobriety checkpoints and a large DUI strike team are planned for this weekend.

"Avoid the 21," like all other 41 countywide police crackdowns in the state, is funded by California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Celebrate responsibly" is the holiday message offered by the California Highway Patrol today.

As it does with all major holidays, the California Highway Patrol will have more officers than usual on the lookout for drunken drivers and other scofflaws this Christmas holiday.

The CHP's Christmas maximum enforcement period begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the CHP.

"Consider this a warning," said Southern Division Chief Warren A. Stanley. "We will be out there taking a zero-tolerance approach and will arrest you if you are drinking and driving."

During the last Christmas holiday, CHP officers arrested 1,661 DUI suspects statewide. Traffic crashes during that period claimed 43 lives, with nearly half of the fatalities the result of alcohol-related crashes, according to the CHP.

"Celebrate responsibly. Make sure you have a designated driver," said CHP Officer Rick Quintero.

Quintero also advised drivers to "slow it down, leave earlier and be patient," particularly in light of the rainy weather forecast for the holiday.

The CHP asked motorists to call 911 to report suspected drunken drivers. Callers should be prepared to provide dispatchers with a vehicle description and its location and direction of travel.

DUI arrests continue to rise in Monterey County as police report 78 in handcuffs for the crime. The countywide crackdown, called Avoid the 18, began its three-week run on Friday, Dec. 12.

Figures cover up to midnight Sunday.

This a 78 percent increase over last year at this time. DUI drivers have killed no one in the county so far in this year’s campaign, nor in last year’s or the year before.

“This arrest increase is a double-edged sword,” said Sgt. John Lynn of the Salinas Police Dept., Avoid the 18 coordinator.

“We know that the enforcement efforts are working, but some people don’t understand the seriousness of drunk driving. This crime hurts everyone; it’s just a matter of time before it hurts you.”

On the enforcement calendar for Christmas week and weekend is freeway saturation by the California Highway Patrol’s Monterey and King City regions. CHP captains will assign nearly all available officers to road duty, canceling vacations and days off.

Soledad police will run warrants enforcement this week, while King City and Marina police will field saturation patrols concentrating on impaired drivers.

Avoid the 18 ends its three-week run on New Year’s Day. Like all 40 similar campaigns in California, it is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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