Many people are treating life as back to normal after a couple of tough years dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer, people in the East Bay are looking forward to enjoying summertime activities, like outdoor festivals, backyard barbecues, and road trips across the state. One of the first major events of summer is the 4th of July. However, Independence Day is also a day of increased drunk driving in California.
One of the reasons there may be more drunk driving arrests around July 4th is that law enforcement increases the number of patrols during a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP). Talk to an experienced California DUI defense attorney about your legal options after a DUI arrest.
What Is a Maximum Enforcement Period?
A Maximum Enforcement Period is a time when law enforcement use increased resources to focus on drunk drivers and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. MEPs generally involve multiple law enforcement agencies, including police departments, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and county sheriff's departments.
The MEP period will generally begin at the beginning of a holiday weekend and extend through the end of the weekend. For example, for the 2022 Memorial Day Weekend, the CHP enforcement period began at 6 p.m. on Friday and continued through 11:59 p.m. on Monday. Other holidays which often have an MEP include:
- 4th of July
- Labor Day
- New Year's Day
Independence Day Sobriety Checkpoints
Some areas also put up sobriety checkpoints during the holiday weekend. DUI checkpoints are considered constitutional under California law, as long as they meet certain requirements. Even if the checkpoint doesn't end up finding a lot of drunk drivers, one of the main reasons that law enforcement use checkpoints is for the deterrent effect. When drivers know that a checkpoint will be set up for July 4th, they may think twice about driving home after having a few drinks.
Recently, in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, there have been a few different sobriety checkpoint locations, including:
- Fremont, near Fremont Boulevard and Walnut Ave (by the Target)
- Berkeley, near San Pablo Ave and Cedar Street
- Oakland, near Telegraph Ave and 52nd Street
- Richmond, near Richmond Parkway and Garrard Boulevard
Increased DUI Patrols in Oakland and the East Bay
Increased enforcement often involves putting more officers on patrol looking for impaired drivers and other signs of intoxicated driving. For drivers, any traffic violation could be enough to trigger a traffic stop. Speeding, rolling through a stop sign, or having a broken tail light could justify a traffic stop where the officer could look for any signs of impairment. Signs of impairment for drunk drivers may include
- Smell of alcohol
- Open container visible in the car
- Slurred speech
- Conflicting statements about where the driver is coming from
Once the police suspect the driver may be impaired, they may ask the driver to perform some field sobriety tests or provide a preliminary breath sample. For most drivers, standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) and a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test are not required. You cannot be penalized for refusing to perform these tests. However, younger drivers, drivers with a CDL, or drivers on probation for a DUI may be required to submit a PAS test.
How to Keep Your License After a DUI Arrest
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 38 years of DUI experience and understands the challenges involved. Helping drivers in Oakland and Alameda County, contact the local criminal defense lawyer who understands DUI defense strategies and how you can keep your license after a DUI arrest.
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