Most everybody knows what a DUI checkpoint is, and many drivers have had the experience of being stopped at one. For law enforcement, sobriety checkpoints are a way to catch people who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For drivers, this can be an inconvenience, but it is accepted because these checkpoints take drunk drivers off the road. However, how many times have you ever been through a DUI checkpoint and not seen anybody getting arrested? Is arresting people really the point of DUI checkpoints?
Do DUI Checkpoints Work?
At DUI checkpoints, police offers are stationed along a stretch of road where they check if drivers show any signs of intoxication. Officers are required to use a pattern when stopping drivers. For instance, they could stop every car or every fifth car. However, they could also stop you if you show signs of intoxication while driving through the checkpoint, including swerving.
In addition, the location of sobriety checkpoints must be disclosed ahead of time. Checkpoints must be labeled with hazard lights and marked cars, which makes them easy to see. Under California law, you can avoid entering a checkpoint as long as you drive carefully and obey the rules of the road when avoiding the checkpoint.
So with all these restrictions, what’s the point of even having DUI checkpoints? Studies show sobriety checkpoints are an effective way to catch and arrest drunk drivers. However, DUI saturation patrols, when police patrol a wider area to search for drivers who are exhibiting signs of intoxication, are more effective, less restrictive for police officers, and cheaper. Why don’t DUI saturation patrols replace DUI checkpoints then?
The Real Reason for DUI Checkpoints
The real reason why DUI checkpoints exist is because their existence alone is enough to scare people from driving drunk. Making people aware of DUI checkpoints ahead of time may seem counterintuitive, but it actually helps keep drunk drivers off the road. It reminds people of the harsh consequences they face if they are arrested for DUI and informs them that police in their area are actively looking for drunk drivers.
The success of DUI checkpoints should not be measured by the amount of arrests made at each sobriety checkpoint because that is not the real reason why they exist. Sobriety checkpoints are revealed ahead of time in California to prevent people from driving drunk in the first place. Often, this information causes people to be more cautious. The risk and fear of being pulled over may be enough to have potential drunk drivers get an Uber or call a taxi.
Contact a DUI Attorney at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing charges as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should speak to our experienced DUI defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. For over 30 years, our attorneys have been using the most effective strategies to help defend our clients against DUI charges. We can help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Ventura, Victorville, and West Covina, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney no matter your location.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.