During the last weekend of November, Fresno and Visalia police were able to arrest eight total people in conjunction with a DUI checkpoint set-up in the Fresno area.
The Fresno checkpoint was conducted late on Saturday, November 30 in the westbound McKinley Avenue and Van Ness Avenue lanes. This spot garnered six DUI arrests.
Meanwhile, the Visalia police administered a DUI checkpoint in the area of Mineral King Avenue and Bridge Street. This checkpoint led to two DUI arrests.
In conjunction with the eight DUI arrests, there were a total of twelve impounded vehicles in the area after individuals were unable to produce a valid driver's license or because the individual was arrested for DUI.
Furthermore, law enforcement issued two separate citations for unlicensed driving, one for driving on a suspended license, and seventeen miscellaneous violations.
DUI checkpoints are conducted throughout the state of California on a regular basis. They are usually administered on weekends and holidays, when drinking and driving most often occurs.
According to state law, law enforcement must notify California residents of upcoming DUI checkpoints. One popular method to become aware of DUI checkpoints at any given time is by visiting the associated Facebook page dedicated to alerting individuals about these checkpoints.
Most DUI checkpoints, while conducted to monitor driving under the influence, will subsequently lead to arrests and apprehensions related to other criminal offenses, as well. This occurred during the recent Fresno area DUI checkpoint. This is often seen as a productive way to deter drunk driving while also issuing other types of citations.
While public notices are required by the state, California also follows other guidelines related to executing a DUI checkpoint. For example, once the location of the checkpoint has been decided upon, it must be approved by supervising officers.
Once the actual checkpoint has begun, there is a specific formula that is followed by the officers regarding which vehicles will be stopped. It is imperative that officers do not stray from the designated formula. It is unlawful for the officers to stop random vehicles based solely on preconceptions or irrational suspicions.
Along with notices and a designated formula, officers must also ensure that certain safety standards are enforced. For example, there must be proper lighting and warning signs at the checkpoint site.
The state of California continues to improve the safety of its roadways and is therefore working to implement new policies as well as evaluating current laws and procedures. In fact, the Office of Traffic and Safety (OTS) in California conducted a recent survey to assess the functionality of DUI checkpoints. The survey collected data from the years 2010-2012 and came up with mixed reviews related to the acceptance and general information regarding DUI checkpoints.
One question in the study asked participants whether they have seen or heard anything about police setting up sobriety/DUI checkpoints to monitor drunk driving. In 2010, 69.7% replied in the affirmative. While the number increased to 72.9% in 2011, it fell the next year to 67.8%.
Another question asked was whether the individuals supported the use of sobriety/DUI checkpoints. The percentage of participants responding in the affirmative stayed pretty much consistent in 2010 and 2011 at 88.4% and 88.3% respectively, but the number experienced a noticeable increase to 89.6% in 2012.
These responses help law enforcement and other government officials in the state work towards better and more agreeable DUI checkpoint practices. In the meantime, however, officers may make mistakes or use bad judgment when conducting these checkpoints. It is therefore in your best interest to contact a seasoned DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after a DUI arrest from a checkpoint.