San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers watched as San Diego Police Department drunk driving officers preyed on folks attending Floatopia.
Since drinking booze on San Diego Beaches is now illegal, getting on a raft & drinking a few feet from shore is not. Hordes of San Diego DUI police officers standing on shore making sure no booze was consumed on land.
A few years ago, tired of litter and drunk on its beaches, San Diego's city council passed a one-year ban on beach drinking. San Diego California voters made the ban permanent a year later. But there was an oversight: The ban defines "beach" as "the sand or land area bordering the water of an ocean or bay." The wording inadvertently made it a drinkers' haven in the water. Another result is a police fish bowl for San Diego DUI arrests.
Most of San Diego's Floatopias happen in and around Pacific Beach—known as Pacific Beach—a young, raucous neighborhood of bungalows and a two-mile-long strip of bars that ends at the Pacific Ocean. Back when beach drinking was still allowed, P.B.'s Fourth of July celebrations had so many San Diego DUI & San Diego alcohol-related arrests that police brought in a recreational vehicle outfitted with temporary San Diego California jail cells.
The San Diego California alcohol ban has calmed things down. On July 4, the mobile jail got little use and won't be returning next year to San Diego beaches. Last weekend's Floatopia was organized anonymously through Facebook and Twitter.
San Diego California DUI police say that when the parties started, they checked with the San Diego city attorney's office about whether they were legal - drinking in the water isn't the same thing as drinking on the beach.
"Floatopia" is threatened by San Diego City Council's public safety and neighborhood services committee which recently passed a proposal to amend the drinking ban so it extends to "bathers," a category that includes almost anyone not in some sort of boat, including kayaks and canoes. On July 26, 2010, the San Diego city council is expected to vote on making it "unlawful for any bather to consume any alcoholic beverage within one marine league of any beach." A league is about three-and-a-half miles.
San Diego isn't the first beach community to grapple with Floatopia, though the city's parties are unique in that they were created purely to dodge the law. Santa Barbara County, which had been dealing with float parties since 2005, last year banned alcohol on Isla Vista beach and 100 yards into the water.
The largest Floatopias have attracted roughly 3,000 floaters, many of whom drink quite a bit of alcohol. San Diego beaches fill up with trash, beer cans and weary drinkers napping on slowly deflating rafts. Drivers are often later arrested for San Diego drunk driving.