499 drivers were arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) in Los Angeles County over the Memorial Day weekend, according to a statement by Glendora police officials.
Law enforcement officers arrested 499 drivers between Friday and Sunday in Los Angeles County alone, which was 30 fewer arrests than last year. 323 of these arrests took place between 12:01am Friday, May 23 and midnight on Saturday, May 24. The arrests were a part of a multi-agency crackdown on drunk driving, the "Avoid the 100 Los Angeles County DUI Campaign," which includes sobriety checkpoints and increased roving DUI patrols to deter and catch intoxicated drivers. The campaign is called "Avoid the 100" because of the 100 Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies participating in its efforts.
The "Avoid the 100" task force will carry out sobriety checkpoints and dispatch increased DUI patrols again over the Independence Day holiday and over Labor Day.
Sobriety checkpoints are seen as an effective way to prevent drunk driving accidents, but they can also present issues in relation to the constitutionality of resulting searches, arrests and criminal charges. Checkpoints must be carried out in a specific manner to avoid violating the constitutional rights of drivers. For example, the time and general location of the checkpoint must be publicly advertised, the criteria for stopping drivers must be neutral to avoid discrimination, the checkpoint must be safely and reasonably carried out, and drivers must be detained for a minimal amount of time.
Officers taking part in roving DUI patrols must also properly carry out stops and arrests. They must have a sufficient reason to pull a driver over in the first place and must establish probable cause before making an arrest for suspected DUI. In carrying out field sobriety tests, officers must follow set protocol and must be fair in their evaluation of a driver's performance. These tests must be conducted in the right conditions, without undue distractions or other factors that could adversely affect a driver's performance. An officer on a DUI patrol cannot simply pull over and arrest any driver he or she wishes simply because it is a holiday weekend. They must still follow procedure and respect a driver's rights.
For the nearly 500 drivers in Los Angeles County who were arrested for DUI last weekend, there may be various ways to effectively challenge resulting criminal charges. It takes a thorough analysis of the circumstances surrounding the case, including the manner in which a driver was stopped or pulled over, whether field sobriety tests were carried out and what result a breath or blood test showed. Effective defense strategies may be based on:
- An improperly administered breath test;
- A mishandled blood sample and blood test;
- An unlawful arrest made without probable cause;
- A failure to read an arrestee his or her Miranda rights;
- Improperly administered or graded field sobriety tests;
- An unconstitutional sobriety checkpoint; or
- Other instances of police misconduct or negligence.
Every case is different, of course, so it is important to talk to an attorney about your specific situation. Reviewing the sequence of events that led to your arrest can help your attorney determine what defenses may apply and how to approach your case in such a manner as to protect your rights and best interests.
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our Los Angeles criminal attorneys are experienced in challenging misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. We know how to protect our clients' driving privileges and freedom by providing aggressive defense representation at Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) hearings and in criminal court proceedings related to DUI, including DUI causing injury, vehicular manslaughter and other serious drunk driving charges.