The holidays are upon us and with that comes increased DUI enforcement. All over the State of California, police are increasing their DUI patrol for the holidays. Statistically, weekend nights and holidays are the biggest times for drunk driving. Police believe that increased enforcement will both stop people from drinking and driving in the first place and catching those that do before they can cause injuries. An article in the Press-Enterprise states that from 2007 to 2011, 4,169 people were killed in drunk driving auto crashes in the month of December. 505 of those victims were in California. In order to reduce this number for 2013, law enforcement will be out in droves this year.
In Riverside County, police report that they are planning 40 saturation patrols, 20 checkpoints and three multi-agency operations from today, December 13th to New Year's Day. Police regularly receive grants from agencies like the state Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to increase DUI enforcement during these periods.
Police in Merced are also gearing up for increased DUI patrolling. They plan to set up 6 sobriety checkpoints, 17 DUI saturation patrols and a DUI warrant and probation sweep between now and the end of the year.
Some say these efforts are a way to take advantage of holiday drivers who are not impaired but may have had some alcohol before heading home. Whereas some DUI arrests begin with an officer stopping a driver after witnessing erratic behavior, checkpoints stop drivers at random and allow police to evaluate them for DUI with no probable cause. Checkpoints are legal in California as long as they follow certain protocol.
Drivers who are arrested during the holidays should speak with a lawyer right away to make sure that they were treated fairly. Sometimes, when police perform these types of DUI “crackdowns”, officers get over zealous and make unfounded arrests.