May 20, 2016 By Matthew Wallin

DUI Checkpoints Effective

Are DUI Checkpoints Effective?

When the iPhone first hit the market in 2007, Apple commonly used ads that state “There’s an app for that.” This highlighted the device’s ability to use apps to perform limitless tasks and provide information on any subject its users could imagine. Fast-forward to today and there are several apps that inform drivers when sobriety checkpoints are set up in their area.

The existence of apps like Mr. Checkpoint and Checkpoint Wingman is a sign that the many people want to know where DUI checkpoints are located. However, does this popularity necessarily mean that DUI checkpoints are effective at stopping drunk drivers?

How Effective are DUI Checkpoints?

The data available suggests that relatively few DUI arrests actually occur at DUI checkpoints. For example, in 2014, the Anaheim Police Department ran 10 checkpoints, but netted only five DUI arrests. Compare that to the 84 arrests that came from saturation patrols, and it seems like very little arrests are made at checkpoints.1

Checkpoints are not only less likely to catch drunk drivers, they are also extremely expensive to operate. Checkpoints typically cost between $8,000 and $10,000 per checkpoint. Much of the cost goes to fulfilling the constitutional requirement of publicizing the checkpoint. In addition, checkpoints must be staffed by several officers, which pulls law enforcement resources away from regular patrols and emergency responses.

What’s the (Check)point?

With few arrests actually made at sobriety checkpoints, why does law enforcement continue to run them? Well, the answer depends on what you describe as an “effective” checkpoint. If the point is to arrest people, checkpoints are not as successful, but proponents of checkpoints say that the small amount of arrests actually shows that checkpoints are effective.

“DUI checkpoints are proven to be effective at deterring drunk drivers,” says Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “The goal is not to write tickets or make arrests but rather to remind the public that they should drive sober or face serious consequences.”2

Those in favor of checkpoints also point to data that indicates the checkpoints reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes. In evaluating multiple studies on the effectiveness of checkpoints, the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that checkpoints reduce the number of these crashes by as much as 20 percent.3

Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich For Help

If you are charged with a DUI after being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, you will need an experienced and skilled attorney to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully defending clients against DUI charges for more than 40 years. There are strict policies and procedures at checkpoints, and we may be able to show that law enforcement did not properly follow these procedures.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

1.Teri Sforza, “DUI arrests are down, but crashes inch up,” The Orange County Register, December 30, 2015, available at href=”#ref1″>↩

2. Larry Copeland, “Sobriety checkpoints open to controversy,” USA Today, March 24, 2011, available at href=”#ref2″>↩

AUTHOR: Matthew Wallin

Matthew B. Wallin is an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at Wallin & Klarich. He approaches each case as an opportunity to help an individual at a time when they need it most and understands that he is the one they have turned to for help.   Mr. Wallin has represented hundreds of our clients in cases involving DUI and DMV hearings, domestic violence, assault and battery, drug crimes, misdemeanors and serious felonies. With extensive experience handling DUI cases, Mr. Wallin is one of the premiere DUI defense attorney in Southern California.

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