In this report from the New York Times, a closer look at California DUI checkpoints reveals they are more likely to catch an unlicensed driver than someone driving under the influence. Driving without a license is a traffic offense that will get your vehicle impounded for 30 days, a far less harsh penalty than those seen by DUI suspects.
Depending on where the checkpoint is, the number of cars impounded for every DUI increases significantly. Though the checkpoints are designed to catch dunk drivers, in theory, the NY Times article suggests the cops are setting up shop where they know impounds will be high.
In Daly City cops impounded 39.5 cars due to no licensed driver for every 1 DUI. In San Rafael that number was 18.6 per every DUI. In several cities around L.A. the average is 20 cars impounded for every DUI arrest at a DUI checkpoint.
The legality of California’s 30-day impoundment law is in question and will be argued this year in from of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Considering California police impounded 24,000 vehicles at DUI checkpoints last year, a ruling against the law could mean far less work for tow companies and city impound lots in years to come.
Despite the DUI numbers being low when compared with impound numbers, DUI checkpoints have resulted in many arrests over the past few years, arrests based on people being under the influence and suspected of DUI. The penalties for a DUI are far harsher than being caught without a license, as this offense is criminal.
A first time DUI charge in California will likely cost jail time, fines, DUI school driver’s license suspension, and court probation. If this is your second or greater offense, those penalties increase.
When facing charges like this it’s important you have an experienced advocate on your side. When the cops stop you at a DUI checkpoint there are limits to what they can arrest you for. If you are facing criminal charges as a result of one of these checkpoints or if you are accused of DUI, call our defense lawyers today.