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When a DUI Checkpoint Ends in Zero Arrests

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Sep 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

When local police announce a planned sobriety checkpoint, most residents expect to hear about a number of arrests the following day. Sobriety checkpoints often identify drivers who may be under the influence, as well as drivers without a valid license or insurance. However, in some cases, DUI checkpoints in California can end in zero arrests.

Police officers recently conducted a sobriety checkpoint just across the bay in Burlingame. Burlingame police were looking for signs of drivers who may be impaired by drugs or alcohol. They were also checking driver's licenses. However, after hundreds of cars were stopped and screened, the Burlingame police ended the night with zero arrests.

According to Burlingame Police Sergeant Jim Ford, almost 800 vehicles passed through the checkpoint between last Thursday night and early Friday morning. Seven drivers were told to pull over and given field sobriety tests. None of the drivers were determined to be intoxicated, and none of the drivers were found to be driving on a suspended license.

Having a DUI checkpoint that ended in no arrests could indicate a couple of things. It could indicate a reduction in drunk driving, or show that checkpoints really do deter intoxicated driving. Two recent DUI checkpoints in San Diego ended the same way, with no DUI arrests despite screening almost 700 vehicles.

If the prior DUI/driver's license checkpoint in Burlingame is any indication, police may see more checkpoints ending in no arrests. During a checkpoint in August, Burlingame police netted just one arrest after nearly 800 vehicles were screened and police conducted almost 20 field sobriety tests. Burlingame has had at least 5 DUI checkpoints take place in city limits so far this year.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, police and the California Highway Patrol conduct over 2,500 sobriety checkpoints every year, including a number here in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls DUI checkpoints, “the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while yielding considerable cost savings.”

Police departments often announce they will be conducting checkpoints in advance, to deter drivers in the area from even considering drinking and driving. Cities can take advantage of grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to carry out these checkpoints. They also issue news releases to advise drivers that a DUI conviction can result in jail time, loss of your driver's license, higher insurance rates, fines, and DUI school that can cost up to $10,000 for a first-time DUI.

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.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 38 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.


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