Los Angeles County Receives $2.5 Mil. for DUI Checkpoints


Los Angeles County, California is receiving $1.1 million in federal funding for DUI Checkpoints and other traffic safety measures for the current fiscal year (October 2013-September 2014). The county is receiving an extra $1.419 million from UC Berkeley. The state Office of Traffic Safety funds DUI saturation patrols and overtime pay for personnel who work under the grant.

According to the California Office of Traffic and Safety website, California has the highest number of DUI and sobriety checkpoints annually than any other state in the country. A statewide survey claimed that almost 90% of those surveyed were in support of sobriety checkpoints.

$73k Anti-DUI Grant Just in Time for the Holidays

What better way to kick-off a safe start to the New Year than to receive a $73,000 grant to fund an anti-DUI program? The Palm Desert Police Department received the large grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). According to the director, Christopher J. Murphy, the DUI checkpoints funded by such grants have been “an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths” from 2006 to 2010 in California. He added, “But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one third of traffic fatalities, Palm Desert needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that this grant will provide.”

The special grant is going to use the funds to target impaired drivers and also educate the public on the dangers of DUI by creating checkpoints. According to Palm Desert Police, the DUI checkpoints have been the most effective tool to any DUI enforcement strategy, and are said to save $6 for every $1 spent.

On November 19 of this year, the Palm Desert Police Department received a $100,072.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to fund a year-long program aimed to prevent deaths on the roadways through special enforcement and raising public awareness. The grant was said to fund Specialized DUI training in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, and Drug Recognition Evaluation. The grant was also expected to fund DUI Saturation Patrols, compilation of DUI Hot Sheets, Court sting operations that would catch drivers using their vehicle after a court appearance after their license had been pulled for DUI, and stakeout operations to observe repeat DUI offender probationers with revoked or suspended licenses.

The grant comes at a time when DUI enforcement is at its highest. Programs like DUI checkpoints are used to reduce the number of deaths and injuries related to drunk driving, which is especially high during major holidays like Christmas and New Year’s.

California’s 14%

One in seven weekend nighttime drivers in California tested positive for drugs that can affect driving ability, according to a voluntary survey of drivers across nine cities in California. The survey was the first of its kind conducted in the state, which was an anonymous study that paid participants to submit to drug and alcohol tests and answer a series of questions. Some drivers were found to be over the legal limit, and were asked to stay at the site until a sober driver could retrieve them, and no one was placed under arrest.

The survey results were announced by the California Office of Traffic Safety. There were more drivers who tested positive for drugs known to impair driving (14 percent) than drivers who tested positive for alcohol (7.3 percent). Marijuana was the most prevalent drug found, and 7.4% of the drivers tested positive for it.

Of the 7.3% of drivers who tested positive for alcohol, 23% of those drivers also tested positive for at least one other drug. 4.6% of the drivers tested positive for illegal drugs, and 4.6% of the drivers also tested positive for legal, over-the-counter medications that could potentially affect driving ability. Of the 7.4% of drivers who tested positive for marijuana, 26.5% of those drivers also tested positive for at least one other drug.

Over 1,300 drivers voluntarily provided breath and saliva samples at the roadside locations set up across nine cities where the survey was conducted. The survey spanned from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The samples were collected during these times as a reflection of the peak times of impaired driving according to arrests reports. The breath samples were tested for alcohol, and the saliva samples tested for the active ingredient in marijuana (THC), major illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications known to potentially impair driving abilities.

The $650,000 study, as reported by the Orange County Register, was conducted by the Maryland-based Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. The study was paid for by federal funds and was conducted to supply data needs identified in the California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which is, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, a “dynamic action plan developed by federal, state and local government agencies, as well as organizations and advocacy groups dedicated to all aspects of traffic safety.”

What Are California’s DUI Penalties for Multiple Convictions?

Bobby Brown has been arrested for suspicion of DUI, which is his second arrest for DUI in the San Fernando Valley in six months. California’s DUI penalties often include fines, jail time, license suspension, and alcohol treatment programs.

For the first DUI charge, Brown was placed on three years of summary probation and ordered to complete a three-month alcohol education program. This is typical of California DUI penalties, which will usually require three years of informal probation, a fine up to $2,000, a period of license suspension, and a requirement of a 4-month alcohol class for a first DUI conviction.

Brown’s first DUI was in Florida in 1996, but California has a ten year “look back” period, which means the Courts will review only this time period for determining your punishment. Since Brown’s 1996 DUI was over ten years ago, his arrest for DUI in March is counted as his first.

A second-time DUI in California can face a two year license suspension, mandatory jail time up to 60 months, and an 18-month alcohol class.

A third DUI in California can be penalized with a three year driver’s license suspension, an 18 month alcohol class, and mandatory jail time of at least 120 days.

New Bill Deletes Options for CA Drivers Arrested for DUI

California drivers no longer have the option to choose which chemical test they may take when arrested for driving under the influence. The old law allowed a driver to decide whether they submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. Sometimes, the driver who submitted to a breath test would also be request to take either a urine or blood test, again one of their choosing.Revisions to this law prohibits the arrestee’s option of choosing a urine test, and instead requires that if a blood test is unavailable then they have automatically consented to giving a urine test. The new law states that a person only has the choice of a breath or blood test. If a person is unable to give a blood test and is exempted from doing so, then they must give a urine test.

California’s new bill was approved by the Governor on August 27. Under California law, an arresting officer must tell a driver the consequences of refusing a chemical test, which can include a one-year driver’s license suspension for a first DUI offense.