Traffic in the East Bay is bad enough. When police set up a sobriety checkpoint, it can make traffic even more frustrating. However, for driver's who might have had a couple of drinks before driving home, a DUI checkpoint is not only inconvenient, it might land them in jail. DUI checkpoints allow police to stop drivers for questioning, even if they are driving perfectly fine. Across the state, police have been rounding up drivers at DUI checkpoints.
Oakland residents may have come across a checkpoint last Friday near Telegraph Avenue and Claremont Avenue. The DUI/Driver's License checkpoint took place between the hours of 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. The Oakland Police Department's press release also cautioned against driving under the influence of drugs. They cite recent statistics that reveal 30% of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, California law enforcement conducts more than 2,500 sobriety checkpoints every year. DUI checkpoints have been upheld under California law and the U.S. Constitution. Other states, including Idaho, Washington, and Texas have prohibited DUI checkpoints.
In contrast to other police investigations, sobriety checkpoints are usually announced in advance. This is because one of the primary purposes of a sobriety checkpoint is to deter drivers from even thinking about drinking and driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while yielding considerable cost savings.”
Local police departments can take advantage of grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to conduct sobriety checkpoints. They also provide resources for police to issue press releases in advance of a DUI checkpoint. These news releases advise drivers that a DUI conviction can result in jail time, a suspended driver's license, increased insurance, fines, fees, and DUI school that can cost a driver up to $10,000.
The summer continues to be a busy time for police conducting DUI checkpoints. In southern California, police officers have planned a number of sobriety and driver's license checkpoints in Los Angeles this weekend. Local police have announced at least six upcoming checkpoints, including the date, time, and general location. Northern California drivers should expect to see upcoming sobriety checkpoints as well.
With most traffic stops, police have to have a reason to pull over a driver. However, sobriety checkpoints allow police to stop random drivers to check for a valid license, and try to look for signs of alcohol consumption. This weekend may be a good time to designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or download a ridesharing app.
Just because you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint does not mean you are guilty. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending individuals charged with drunk driving offenses in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a theft conviction can affect your future. If you are facing a conviction, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.