Articles Tagged with dui checkpoints

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Police officers insist that it’s a matter of public safety when they’re setting up checkpoints for DUI in Los Angeles, New York, Miami or any other city. But do all motorists get treated the same when it comes to screening for excessive alcohol consumption?
A report in the Chicago Tribune says that the Chicago Police Department sets up DUI checkpoints almost exclusively in African American and Latino sections of the city. Police stopped motorists at 14 such sites between March and September 2015; nine were in police districts serving a majority black population, four in Latino areas and only one in a majority white district.Los-Angeles-DUI-checkpoint-defense

The paper cites examples of this disparity, noting the Grand Crossing District, which is mostly black, had the fewest alcohol-related accidents in the city while the predominantly white Jefferson Park District has the third highest number of such crashes. But authorities skipped Jefferson Park for a DUI checkpoint and scheduled one for Grand Crossing.

A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said that police use crash and citation data to choose the DUI checkpoint locations and that their goal is to safeguard the people of Chicago. But when the Tribune analyzed police data earlier this year it found no clear indication of correlation between a high number of DUI checkpoints and fewer alcohol-related crashes. But the data did show that during the last five years police set up 84 percent of 152 sobriety checkpoints in minority neighborhoods.
The chair of Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus has called for hearings on how police select the sobriety checkpoint locations.
Meanwhile, people who don’t want to go through any DUI checkpoints at all can play it safe by driving only in Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin or Wyoming. Those nine states have all banned DUI checkpoints.

What should you do if you or someone you love faces a serious DUI count? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? Call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut immediately to understand your options and craft a strategic response.

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It’s been a busy week for the LAPD, at least as far as Los Angeles DUI arrests are concerned.PCH-DUI-checkpoint

According to the LA Weekly News, police set up multiple saturation patrols and checkpoints throughout the Southland last weekend. On Saturday night (from 7 PM to 1 AM), the LAPD patrolled South LA, near the 77th Street Division area, as well as Huntington Drive near Poplar Boulevard in El Sereno. The police also set up another saturation patrol on Sunday in the West Valley Division area.

Law enforcement officials argue that these patrols prevent deaths and injuries on the road. Per the LAPD: “research shows that traffic collisions involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20% when well publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely.” While these patrols can, indeed, make the roads safer, they can often capture innocent people in the dragnet, forcing those drivers to endure license suspension, jail time, humiliation, spikes in their insurance rates, and other frustrating consequences.

The authorities set up another checkpoint on PCH over the weekend, netting 20 DUI arrests after checking out 150 drivers. That LAPD checkpoint, which ran from 7 PM to 3 AM, per a Sheriff’s Country press release: “was one of many that have been and will be conducted throughout the year in Malibu.” Authorities arrested 10 people for driving without a license, impounded three vehicles, and even arrested someone for refusing to comply with checkpoint instructions.

History of DUI Checkpoints in L.A. and Beyond

Believe it or not, checkpoints have only been considered Constitutional for a few decades. A landmark case decided by the Supreme Court in the late 1980s considered whether DUI checkpoints violated Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court ruled that such checkpoints were Constitutional, but the court put many constraints on them. For instance, police cannot hold vehicles indefinitely or use excessive force. Authorities are also limited in terms of when and how they can establish and run checkpoints.

Checkpoint Defenses

Depending on when and how you got arrested, you may be able to challenge the validity of the checkpoint or the arrest. For instance:

•    Perhaps police incompetence or negligence occurred;
•    Maybe the blood test that showed that you were above the legal limit was badly calibrated or improperly administered or recorded;
•    Perhaps the police failed to read you your rights, engaged in abusive or overly aggressive behavior, or searched your vehicle without probable cause.

For help, call experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney, Michael Kraut, and his team today for an even, clearheaded consultation about your defense options.
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Los Angeles DUI checkpoints have their critics. For instance, the American Beverage Institute complains that checkpoints lead more often to frivolous citations – police cite drivers who don’t have their licenses or who have broken taillights – than they do to stopping dangerous drivers. The ABI is actually far more fond of saturation patrols, also known as roving patrols. The ABI loves to cite a 2007 Virginia Tech study that found that roving patrols are almost 25 times more likely than checkpoints to nab DUI drivers.los-angeles-DUI-checkpoint

Even if the American Beverage Institute’s analysis holds water — and the 2007 study could be replicated and confirmed here in Los Angeles — that doesn’t mean that police will (or should) suspend checkpoints. After all, one of the arguments for checkpoints is that they act as a deterrent. When drivers get behind the wheel, they know that checkpoints are out there “somewhere,” lurking. This fact may encourage drivers who are on the fence about whether to drive after drinking to make the smart choice and call a cab or a designated driver. Advocates of checkpoints argue that they’re also safe and relatively easy for police to run.

Of course, as someone who has been recently arrested — or knows someone who has been arrested — for a DUI, you probably could care less about whether saturation patrols or checkpoints are better enforcement methods.

Instead, you want crystal clear, insightful guidance about how to fight your charges and move on with your life. Look to the Los Angeles DUI defense team at the Kraut Law Group. We can help you get a grip on the charges you face and develop a plan of action to take them on.
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