DUI CHECKPOINTS VS SATURATION PATROLS: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

It is now the week of December 10, 2014 and DUI arrests from Holiday Parties are already on the rise. In the next month both checkpoints and saturation patrols will be increased to meet the increased number of people attending holiday and football bowl game parties where they were drinking and driving.

We all know about checkpoints, which like saturation patrols, have to meet the proper lawful and constitutional protocols to succeed. The idea behind a saturation patrol is that a large number of law enforcement officers will "make their presence known" by conducting stops, targeting inebriated, distracted, aggressive and speeding drivers, as well as those with seatbelt or cell phone violations....the whole nine yards of traffic violations.

With a checkpoint, there is no need for an officer to have probable cause to stop you... as is usually the case. Normally an officer must have a reason to pull you over. At a sobriety checkpoint anybody can be stopped and requested to take a breath test. However, this does not mean that if you have failed a breath test or a sobriety test at a checkpoint, all your rights have been compromised. There are procedures and guidelines that all officers at a checkpoint must follow for a DUI test to be held valid.

Because there are a large number of people attending parties and driving, the odds are in the favor of the police that a good percentage of the drivers will have had a drink. Once the officer has probable cause or a reason to stop the driver, then if they smell alcohol they can investigate further. If they see a bag of drugs or a gun on the seat, they can likewise look into the propriety of an arrest for those charges.

On a national basis we know that these officers frequently over-charge and over-arrest people because of their incentivizations. These can include, but are not limited, to promotions, pay increases, vacation schedule priority, etc. based upon their sheer number of arrests and tickets issued. The 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights are frequently violated in the process. This is even though the local courts and Supreme Court of the United States case law approves the concept.

Likewise the District Attorney, when given the arrest report by the arresting officer, makes a decision on how to file the case. They too often over file or over charge to gain leverage for a future plea. By doing so it makes it easier for the DA in the courtroom, to extract a plea to something by the defendant. When arrested for a DUI two separate charges are automatically filed.... Driving under the influence and Driving with a blood level of .08 or higher. In the Indio court they file .07's too and request jail time on all first offense DUI's, unlike most courts in California.

When stopped the impaired driver usually makes many mistakes. They are not aware, unless they read my weekly legal column, that the field sobriety and breath test at the scene are optional. Thus you do not have to take the walk the line, finger to nose, reciting the alphabet backwards and other so called sobriety tests. Likewise the breath test at the scene (unless you are on probation) is optional.

A driver stopped and offered DUI tests should be cooperative and politely say that their attorney is Fleeceum, Cheatum and Gougeum and they have advised the driver not to talk without calling their lawyer for permission. They should explain that "they have been advised these Field Sobriety Tests and breath test at the scene are optional. If that is correct Mr. Officer, then I elected not to take them. Then explain that they are happy to cooperate with law enforcement and take a blood test."

Until recently the urine test was used but today it is only the blood and breath test that is offered. If you are sober enough to think clearly you should consider when you had your last drink. If you just left the bar/restaurant and had chugged your last drink 5 minutes before you were stopped, then the alcohol has not yet gotten into your system and you would want to take a test as quickly as possible because your reading would be going up with time. In that case a Breath test would be the quickest test and arguably result in the lowest reading. On the other hand if you had not had a drink in 2 hours then by requesting the Blood test you are buying time since it would normally take an hour to 3 hours to take a blood draw and your reading would be going down during that time.

Remember, When you drink don't get behind the wheel and be involved in an auto accident (whether it is your fault or not) or get arrested for a DUI...I don't need the extra business.

DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI.........IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN HIRING ME!

Dale Gribow has been "Rated" TOP LAWYER by Palm Springs Life Magazine from 2011-2015 and has a Superb AVVO Legal Rating by his fellow attorneys. Dale Gribow has been Man of the Year 7 times including the City of Palm Desert and the City of Hope and Dale Gribow Day has been declared 4 times. In December 2014 Gribow was selected for membership in the Best Attorneys of America. This group is limited to the Top 100 Attorneys in each state.

In December 2013 Dale was sole attorney appointed to the Coachella Valley Association of Government's Public Safety Ad Hoc Blue Ribbon Committee. Comprised of all the local police chiefs and mayors as well as the Sheriff of Riverside County, the head of CHP and Border Patrol they study Drunk Driving related issues. In 2014 Gribow was again the only attorney selected to the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Health Matters Committee addressing Drunk Driving matters. Dale is also one of the founders of Shutdown Drunk Driving, formed upon the death of his client who was killed by a drunk driver while jogging in October 2013.

Gribow has been a legal commentator, analyst, expert, newspaper columnist and radio talk show host. He currently writes for the CV Weekly and the Desert Sun.

If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his NEW number 760 837 7500 and or his new email: dale@dalegribowlaw.com