If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you need a DUI lawyer. San Diego, CA is aggressive in arresting people for DUI charges. By using DUI checkpoints, San Diego officers are attempting to increase both the number of DUI arrests, but also increase the public awareness of drunk driving. Yet, there are strong reasons to question whether checkpoints are a valid way of enforcing DUI laws.
The information about whether checkpoints are effective is uncertain. There are a number of reports written on behalf of the government that shows checkpoints are an effective way to reduce drunk driving - but, not through arresting drunk drivers. The government reports indicate that they are effective because they make assumptions that a certain amount of people chose to not drive intoxicated because of the publicity related to the checkpoints. There is no data set to verify these claims.
Several studies by public universities, private entities, and even some government studies show that checkpoints are less effective in the number of arrests made than other enforcement techniques. For instance, West Virginia police arrested 189 total arrests from 258 sobriety checkpoints between October 2010 and September 2011. They reportedly stopped about 130,000 vehicles at these checkpoints. Yet, the arrest rate at these checkpoints only accounted for 3.2 percent of the total DUI arrests made statewide during this same time period.
A checkpoint is when the police completely shut down a section of the roadway and screen every driver, or a proscribed number of drivers for intoxication, warrants, driver’s license and insurance law compliance. There are strict requirements on how, when, and where officers are allowed to conduct such checkpoints.
Some criminal defense and constitutional law experts argue that checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which ensures that all citizens shall be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Others argue that it violates the Constitutional right to travel freely. Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Michigan v. Sitz that there is an exception to the Fourth Amendment that allows officers to detain motorists at checkpoints for limited amounts of time.
There are some things police can do to deter drunk driving other than shutting down roadways and stopping innocent motorists. By using roving patrols, rather than DUI checkpoints, San Diego, CA police may be more effective at arresting drunk drivers. If the police feel they get more press from a checkpoint, then they can better publicize increased roving patrols, and begin a public awareness campaign around that the same way they do for checkpoints.
Most of the government marketing material on drunk driving deterrence focuses on the consequences of being convicted of DUI. They attempt to scare people into not driving intoxicated. Perhaps it is time to engage the public in a non-threatening manner. There are a number of reasons that approaching people in a different manner would be more effective, but simple life experience tells us that some people are automatically going to shut off a message meant to instill fear. Perhaps we should have a public dialogue on positive messages to discourage drunk driving rather than threatening ones.
No one ever hopes or even believes they will someday need a DUI Lawyer. San Diego, CA police are putting out the message however, that if you drive after consuming alcohol you will be arrested. Does this message work as a deterrent to you? Is there a better way to discourage drunk driving without instilling the fear of arrest? Go to our Facebook or Twitter page and share your ideas with us.