As part of national effort to reduce the prevalence of impaired driving, law enforcement officers in Riverside County teamed up to arrest 202 people on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI)of drugs or alcohol over the course of a three day weekend. From 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 24 through midnight on Monday, May 27 – Memorial Day Weekend – 30 agencies worked collectively to hold checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the County. The Avoid the 30 program, as the effort was officially known, seemed to accomplish its goal of reducing injuries and deaths caused by impaired-driving crashes, as preliminary figures reported a marginal, albeit reassuring, drop in the number of DUI arrests from previous years, which included 230 arrests over the same time period in 2012.
In response to the success of The Avoid the 30 program, law enforcement agencies will continue to conduct more anti-DUI engagements throughout Riverside County and throughout the year, with planned efforts during the Independence Day holiday weekend and an 18-day program set to begin in August and end with Labor Day Weekend. The Avoid the 30 program is funded by grants from the Office of Traffic Safety, a subsidiary of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a government organization that has been pivotal in the fight against intoxicated and impaired driving.
The Avoid the 30 program is yet another example of the tactics law enforcement officers throughout the nation have become increasingly infatuated with in their anti-DUI campaigns. While it’s tough to argue with the numbers of arrests these efforts produce – and the number of accidents they prevent, some proponents may argue – the fact remains that DUI checkpoints beg the question as to whether they are an infringement on constitutional rights. Although DUI checkpoints are considered illegal in some states, including Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, and Texas, California upholds the legality of checkpoints through both state and federal constitution.
While this disparity between the legality of DUI checkpoints across the nation brings nothing but difficult, profound, and hard-to-reconcile questions, California law does mandate that DUI checkpoints must be reported to local residents. In fact, Riverside County had made The Avoid the 30 program well-known to the public and local agencies encouraged motorists to be vigilant of and report impaired drivers by notifying 911.
Whether arrested for a DUI at a checkpoint or while driving, no driver should take the potential consequences at stake lightly. A first-time DUI conviction in California can subject a person to harsh criminal penalties, including possible terms of imprisonment or community service and hefty fines. In addition to criminal penalties and the repercussions that come with having a criminal offense on one’s record, individuals charged with a DUI also face license suspensions and an array of ongoing costs resulting from higher insurance premiums and hidden fees that may come in the form of court-ordered classes and the costs of transportation, among others. Penalties will also be enhanced as the severity of an offense increases, when an individual has a prior DUI conviction on their record, and when drivers refuse to take a chemical test.
With more than 15 years of aggressive DUI defense experience under his belt, Attorney Thomas Wallin has seen first-hand the evolution of anti-DUI campaigns and the increasing efforts of law enforcement agencies throughout Riverside County and Southern California. Now, more than ever, drivers are faced with law enforcement’s heightened focus on arresting, prosecuting, and harshly penalizing those suspected with drunk driving. As an unfortunate result of their zealousness, many officers may violate arresting protocol and defendant’s rights when making a DUI arrest. As such, anyone facing a DUI allegation should take the preemptive measures to protect their rights, their freedom, and their future by working with a seasoned and passionate Riverside DUI Lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Thomas Wallin to learn more.