Last Friday, Riverside County began an end-of-year campaign that focuses on arresting drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, the “Avoid the 30” task force arrested more than 64 people for DUI last weekend and expects to arrest many more through New Year’s Day.
Expect to see sobriety checkpoints and more patrols on the road who will be targeting drunk driving. Last year, officers arrested more than 680 people for drunk driving.
California is one of 38 states that conducts sobriety checkpoints. During a sobriety checkpoint, officers check a random sampling of drivers for signs of impairment. California uses sobriety checkpoints frequently — more than 2,500 checkpoints are set up every year. While many question the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints, the U.S. Supreme Court has determined they do not violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution because the “state’s interest in preventing drunk driving” is greater than the “degree of intrusion upon individual motorists who are briefly stopped.”
Yet, just because the checkpoints are considered constitutional does not mean that other unconstitutional actions do not occur, such as a police officer acting unlawfully. Most people do not realize there are certain things police officers must do before they can make an arrest. There may also be other defenses available. For example, a defendant may be able to challenge the accuracy of a field sobriety or breathalyzer test.
If you are arrested for DUI during the Avoid the 30 campaign, you do not have to plead guilty. Remember, you can invoke your right to remain silent and your right to a defense attorney.
Learn more by visiting our pages on Riverside DUI defense.
Source: LakeElsinore-Wildomar Patch, “Police cracking down on drunken driving,” City News Service, Dec. 17, 2012