Cities throughout the country have been receiving thousands and thousands of dollars to implement even more DUI checkpoints. While on the surface, these donations seem to be beneficial, the problem is that when you dig a little deeper, you find out that most of this money will be wasted.
DUI checkpoints have been around for years. Of course, reports stating the inaccuracies of DUI checkpoints have also been around for years. While it is true that DUI checkpoints lead to arrests, many of these arrests are unlawful and based on bad judgment.
Just a couple of months ago, the police department right here in Hanford, California received a grant that allocated $11,480 to deter DUI related offenses. The California Office of Traffic and Safety provided the grant to the city of Hanford and is expecting the money to be put towards the administration and execution of additional DUI checkpoints and staffing more officers during the times these checkpoints are in force.
This grant comes about a month after it was announced that cities and counties throughout the state of California were to receive $20 million in total grants!
The largest piece of the pie is intended for the city of Oakland, which will receive $4.5 million. Not only is this amount the largest in California, it is also the single highest grant awarded to any city or county in the nation. It is curious why such a large amount would go to a community where the police force is infamous for illegal police practices.
Other areas of California have also been brought into conversations regarding grants and allocation of funds being put towards DUI checkpoints. For example, the community of Moreno Valley has recently awarded its police department with a $156,410 grant which will be used to fund additional DUI checkpoints. The Moreno Valley City Council approved this measure by a vote of 3-2.
Opposition of this DUI checkpoint funding was presented by council member Victoria Baca. Baca argues that DUI checkpoints unfairly target minorities in the area and are often used to impound the cars of undocumented immigrants. Baca seems to be one of the few leaders who will take a stand against the alarming amount of unlawful practices that take place during DUI checkpoints.
Unfortunately, Baca's concerns were ignored and the council ultimately passed the grant. Not only does this grant allow for more DUI checkpoints, but that is literally the only thing the money can be spent on!
According to state law, officers are supposed to follow strict guidelines relating to the administration and execution of DUI checkpoints. To begin with, there must be a pre-approved formula in place to decide which vehicles will be stopped at these checkpoints and proper signage and lighting must be in place to ensure driver and officer safety.
Although officers are supposed to follow the law when administering DUI checkpoints, this is often not the case. For example, officers at DUI checkpoints continue to use field sobriety tests that have been proven to result in inaccurate findings. This along with inaccurate breath testing often lead to multiple unjustified arrests. Additionally, most of the arrests are not for DUI. Most of the arrests made at a DUI checkpoint are for no insurance or no license.
It remains to be seen how these additional DUI checkpoints in Hanford will be carried out over the course of 2014, but in the meantime, it is in your best interest to be aware of the laws in your area related to both DUI and DUI checkpoints.
If you find yourself facing DUI charges stemming from a DUI checkpoint or other circumstance, call my office today. I have devoted my practice to DUI defense and will use my experience and knowledge of the law to help you!