Orange County law enforcement agencies conducted a campaign to crack down on drivers driving under the influence over the Memorial Day holiday. The campaign was carried out by the multiagency anti-DUI task force known as “Avoid the 38,” which includes the Sheriff’s Department, local police departments, and the California Highway Patrol.
148 people were arrested on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence through checkpoints and saturation patrols conducted in Irvine, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Tustin and other Orange County cities, These checkpoints were conducted from Friday through Monday evening. During last year’s enforcement period, 139 DUI arrests were made.
DUI Roving Saturation Patrols and DUI Checkpoints have become new tools in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s efforts to crack down on drunk drivers. However, law enforcement officials believe that roving patrols are more effective than DUI checkpoints because the deputies working the roving patrols are trained specifically to identify impaired or intoxicated drivers and look specifically for signs of impairment. The California Office of Traffic Safety funds these roving patrols.
There are many organizations however that believe that the sobriety checkpoints and special patrols are becoming profitable operations for local police departments. The DUI checkpoints specifically are more likely to seize cars from unlicensed motorists than catch drunk drivers. According to the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley with California Watch, impounds at checkpoints in 2009 generated an estimated $40 million in towing fees and police fines, money that cities divide with the towing firms. In addition, the officers working the DUI checkpoints received about $30 million in overtime pay.
Whether it is a DUI checkpoint or a roving patrol, there is no doubt that arresting officers constantly make mistakes. Breathalyzers and field sobriety tests are unreliable in that the breathalyzers results are easily manipulated and the field sobriety tests are strictly subjective. Although the officers who conduct the roving saturation patrols are “trained to look for signs of impairment”, they are not experts; they are human beings capable of making mistakes and misjudging.
Anyone who has been arrested for a DUI at a sobriety checkpoint or as a result of a roving saturation patrol should contact an experienced DUI Defense Attorney. A good Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, specializing in DUI’s will examine the stop, the tests administered and the details surrounding the arrest to determine whether or not the arresting agency followed proper procedures.