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Holiday DUI patrol yields over 450 arrests in SoCal

A holiday crackdown on individuals who drink and drive in Southern California has resulted in drunk driving arrests for 456 people. The campaign began in mid-December and ran through midnight New Year's Day.

The intent of the program was to reduce deaths caused by impaired drivers. Law enforcement agencies participated in efforts to arrest impaired drivers during regular shifts at checkpoints and with the use of DUI patrols. Thus far, the deaths of two pedestrians this season have been blamed on drinking and driving.

An individual is considered drunk in California if the blood alcohol level is .08 percent or greater. Penalties may include prison time, fines, mandatory alcohol awareness programs and installation of an ignition interlock device and suspension of his or her driving privilege.

Driving while impaired is a serious charge that should not be taken lightly. If an individual is facing DUI charges, an experienced attorney may be able to help plead the case to a lower charge that lessens or avoids many of the more serious penalties. If the DUI charge happened at a sobriety checkpoint, an attorney may be helpful in challenging the validity of the checkpoint itself as there are very specific rules that govern checkpoints, including having a supervising officer in charge, adequate warning that the checkpoint is upcoming and an available route for a driver to avoid the checkpoint. If any of these factors are absent, it may be grounds to dismiss the case. It may also be possible to claim that the arresting officer at a checkpoint couldn't have observed any bad driving and, consequently, couldn't reasonably know whether or not the suspect's driving was impaired.

Source: BelmontShore-NaplesPatch, "Southern California DUI Patrols Net 456 Arrests," Nancy Wride, Dec. 17, 2012

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