Regardless of the holiday here in San Diego, there are a some things you can usually count on. Tourists coming into town for our weather and fun and DUI Checkpoints popping up around the County. Thanksgiving this year will be no exception.
Why are DUI Checkpoints so popular with the police? T certainly is not because they help catch more DUI drivers. Research has shown that DUI Checkpoints are NOT an effective way to catch DUI drivers. In fact, the Courts and law enforcement have even acknowledged that. The same number of cops on patrol for the same amount of time would catch many more DUI’s. Your usual DUI Checkpoint has upwards of a dozen police working several hours to make two or three DUI arrests after stopping and bothering hundreds of innocent people going about their business.
So, why do they do these checkpoints? Two reasons. First, it makes for good press. The checkpoints get mentioned in the newspaper or shown on television and the police can make the impression they are really going after the drunk drivers, when in fact, it is an inefficient use of their time and resources. The second reason is simple, money. The vast majority of DUI Checkpoints are paid for by grants from the State, MADD or the Federal Government. The real reason police agencies to DUI Checkpoints is so they can make overtime pay that does not come out of their department’s budget.
Frankly, DUI Checkpoints seem to be getting worse in terms of harassing citizens. It isn’t just every driver and their passengers made to wait, stop and deal with the police who suffer. The police now regularly set up units to stop anybody who chooses not to go through the checkpoint or appears to be doing that. I just watched a body camera video from a Chula Vista Police Department officer who was assigned to watch for vehicles appearing to avoid the checkpoint. She pulled over an Uber driver and started questioning why he avoided the DUI checkpoint. She even had him do a field sobriety test despite the fact he did not have alcohol on his breath and looked and sounded perfectly sober. What did she find out about him, well, he hadn’t been drinking. In fact, while she was bothering him, she heard and saw a DUI driver crash up the block from where she was. She told the Uber driver it was his lucky day and sped off.
Maybe if she and the other officers at the checkpoint had been patrolling, they could have pulled the DUI driver over before he crashed. But, then they wouldn’t be getting all that free overtime pay.
So, if you go through a DUI checkpoint this Thanksgiving, don’t mention this article or you may be doing field sobriety tests even if you have not been drinking.
If you do get arrested, get a very good DUI lawyer right away. They can help avoid or minimize the consequences. Call San Diego Defenders ! (619) 258-8888. www.sandiegodefenders.com