In order to combat the high number of
DUI accidents in the Orange County area, the Huntington Beach Police Department
will now be conducting DUI checkpoints on a near monthly basis. In order
to accomplish this goal, The California Office of Traffic Safety gave
the H.B. police a grant just over $100,000. This funding should be enough
to cover the cost of 11 checkpoints throughout the next year.
The state of California compiles groups of cities together in order to
analyze and compare data and findings related to traffic offenses and
collisions. Recently what was found was that H.B. is in the top five cities
for collisions that were caused by alcohol impairment. This was unacceptable,
according to the H.B. police chief, and therefore the city is now implementing
an increase in DUI checkpoints.
H.B. is also high on the list for accidents and arrests caused by driving
under the influence of drugs such as
marijuana. Over the past four years, DUI arrests in this particular area of Orange
County have been on the decline, but this statistic could be misleading.
Due to the still-increasing number of annual DUI accidents, this statistic
may indicate that a decline in arrests can be contributed to the elimination
of the H.B.P.D.'s DUI unit.
Although budget cuts over the past few years may have made the police department
lax on enforcing DUI laws, this new grant will reverse this. Residents
of Orange County should expect an increase in DUI enforcement and should
be on the lookout for DUI checkpoints around every four weeks. DUI checkpoints
are typically conducted at night on main roads.
DUI checkpoints are said to decrease the fatality rate for DUI-related
accidents by 20 percent compared to a scenario in which there were no
DUI checkpoints. Law enforcement officials that operate DUI checkpoints
are prevented from using any subjective criteria when stopping vehicles,
but rather must use a predetermined standard. An example of a predetermined
standard might be "every fourth vehicle." If you were arrested
at a checkpoint based on a subjective standard (i.e. an officer's
"gut feeling") then this could constitute an unlawful police
stop and your charges may be dropped.
H.B.P.D. is not keeping this program a secret, but is rather publicly announcing
it by way of a series of press releases. The department hopes that the
publicity will discourage drivers from operating their vehicles while
impaired. Due to the increase in DUI checkpoints and the overall crackdown
on DUI in Orange County, you or a loved one may recently have been arrested.
To learn more about defense against these charges, please do not hesitate to
contact an Orange County DUI lawyer from our firm.