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Police Oppose DUI Checkpoint Legislation

Police Officials oppose legislation which require warning prior to police conducting a DUI checkpoint. Santa Rosa legislators have encountered stiff resistance from local law enforcement regarding this potential bill.

The bill, would require law enforcement to announce the exact location of DUI checkpoints two hours ahead of time and 48-hours notification for the checkpoint's general location. Law enforcement are concerned that providing notice would prevent as many DUI arrests as drunk drivers would avoid the area. Petaluma Police Chief Dan Fish said, "It takes away the effectiveness of the checkpoint" Fish also said, "Drunk drivers are not going to drive through the checkpoints, they're going to drive somewhere else."

Proponents of the bill state it will simply help deter people from driving drunk and that posting notice will help ensure this. The check point is also intended to check for unlicensed drivers as well as find DUI drivers.

The proposed bill was intended to provide relief to illegal immigrants, who are disproportionately affected by the non-licensed driver laws in California. Currently, the State law calls for impounding of vehicles for 30 days if driven by unlicensed drivers or drivers whose licenses have been revoked or suspended.

Currently, there are numerous requirements, taken from a 1987 Supreme Court Case, for DUI checkpoints, including:

• DUI checkpoints could not be combined with vehicle inspection checkpoints.

• The checkpoint location would be based on a high incidence of DUI arrests or a high volume of DUI-related accidents.

• The checkpoint must either stop all vehicles or use a neutral methodology for determining which vehicles to stop.