In previous blog posts, we have highlighted two California Assembly bills designed to regulate California sobriety checkpoints. Specifically, the bills address concerns surrounding the high number of vehicles impounded at California sobriety checkpoints and the disproportionate impact on unlicensed drivers.
Both bills made it to the Senate floor last week.
As detailed by California Watch, AB 353 addresses many concerns associated with California sobriety checkpoints by prohibiting cities from having operations that focus equally on valid driver’s licenses and intoxication. California law already prohibits license-only checkpoints.
With few exceptions, police could seize a car only when the motorist is suspected of a crime beyond unlicensed driving. Local governments would be protected from liability for damage or loss when they park, rather than tow, a vehicle.
Finally, on occasions when an unlicensed driver’s car is taken to an impound lot, the legislation requires the vehicle be available for release the next day.
Meanwhile, AB 1389 would require checkpoints to be on roads with “a high incidence of DUI arrests or a high volume of DUI-related accidents,” and not necessarily only on city streets or minority neighborhoods.
It would also provide unlicensed motorists caught at checkpoints an opportunity to find a legal driver and avoid impoundment. Police would still be permitted to seize cars when drivers are intoxicated, have revoked or suspended licenses, flee from officers, or the car serves as evidence of a crime (other than unlicensed driving).
We will continue to provide updates on both bills as they advance through the legislative process.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for drunk driving at a California DUI checkpoint, be sure to consult with an experienced California DUI Defense attorney as soon as possible.