Friday, December 12, 2008

California DUI checkpoint tonight & tomorrow in Northern California still a mystery

California DUI criminal defense lawyers and California drunk driving criminal defense attorneys are asked about checkpoints.

San Jose California police are planning a California DUI / drunk driving checkpoint tonight, and this time they're not telling you where.

As an annual holiday California DUI crackdown gets under way, San Jose's finest are breaking with past practice and not announcing where they will be setting up roadblocks and stopping drivers. Although most police departments tell the public where checkpoints will be, the California Supreme Court has ruled that they don't have to.

With close to 1,500 people killed every year in alcohol-related crashes in California, many motorists applaud the cops' secrecy.

"I strongly believe that the checkpoints should not be listed," said a man whose father was killed five years ago in a drunken-driving collision. "If a driver knows the location, they can simply avoid it, and their behavior doesn't change. If the location is a surprise, hopefully the driver will think twice before getting behind the wheel."

Ten years ago, 1,072 people were killed in alcohol-involved collisions in California, a figure that jumped to 1,597 in 2006 before falling to 1,489 last year, the first decrease in a decade.

Meanwhile, more than 206,000 DUI arrests were made in California in 2007, the most since 1994.

Now, say San Jose police, it's time to take a tougher stance. They will announce ahead of time that a crackdown is planned, but will not pinpoint it until two hours before enforcement begins — too late for partygoers. Someone may think, 'Let's not have that third or fourth drink because we have to drive home and I don't know where the checkpoint is.'

In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Michigan case that sobriety checkpoints are not a violation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. The court allowed that certain guidelines are needed but did not spell them out.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration later came out with recommended guidelines, including giving advance publicity of checkpoints to reduce their intrusiveness.

But the California Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that no advance publicity is needed. The state Office of Traffic Safety recommends publicizing the California dui checkpoint, including its location, but leaves it up to individual departments.

"Naming them in advance provides an educational component, and we still catch a number of DUI people even with the advance notice," said a spokesman for the Santa Cruz Police Department, which announces the location a week ahead of time and then 24 to 48 hours before officers hit the road. "Even with the very clear markings out in the field, egregious offenders are still caught."

The 21-day California DUI crackdown will involve law enforcement agencies throughout the Bay Area. It is funded through grants, with $661,981 set aside for Santa Clara County and $6.5 million statewide. That money will pay for similar efforts on Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and Halloween.

The campaign includes messages on freeway signs encouraging motorists to call 911 if they spot a suspected drunk behind the wheel.

"The purpose of the checkpoints is to get as many drunk drivers off the road as possible," said someone who opposes giving drivers advance notice of checkpoints. "If you are not drunk you have nothing to worry about. If you are drunk you'll get what you deserve."

A drunken-driving arrest can be a painful lesson. In addition to spending a night in jail, you could pay up to $8,000 in fines, towing charges, higher insurance premiums and attorney's fees, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Besides the California DUI checkpoint in San Jose tonight, there will be two on Saturday. Milpitas police will position officers near Great Mall Parkway and South Abel Street, and Sunnyvale police will be on El Camino Real between Mathilda and Pastoria avenues.

Click on below sites for more information or to contact a California DUI Lawyer who can help:
The California criminal defense lawyers who attended informed the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association that San Diego California DUI criminal defense attorney Rick Mueller was excellent.