DUI Checkpoints- Triumph for public safety or war on the U.S. Constitution?

By Debra Tash, Bruce Boyer and George Miller

DuiCheckpoint There is something bizarre about the rash of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) checkpoints that are being set up across our county.  At Citizens Journal we just posted a series of them (see below).  We have also posted some of the results of these nightly exercises.  They have yielded very few actual DUI arrests/citations.   A number of them are scheduled for the upcoming labor Day weekend- just read our pages- the police depts. warn in advance about them, without saying when and where, to help deter DUI’s, but more to fulfill legal requirements. 

Take the results of one of the latest such screenings in Thousand Oaks:

484 Vehicles Screened

• 0 DUI-Alcohol suspects arrested

• 0 DUI-Drug impaired suspects arrested

• 0 Suspects arrested for illegal drugs (possession/transportation/sales)

• 5 Drivers cited/arrested for operating a vehicle unlicensed or while suspended/revoked

• 1 Arrested on other Criminal Charges

• 17 Citations issued

This isn’t scoring well and is not only inconvenient and somewhat annoying, but it is also likely unconstitutional.  The Fourth Amendment supposedly protects us, as citizens, from unreasonable search and seizure.  Law enforcement personnel are not supposed to stop or detain anyone without probable cause. Just because you happen to be out driving a car shouldn’t make you a prime suspect.

We have an eyewitness account of someone who wants to remain anonymous:

On my way home, I was caught in a Sobriety Checkpoint on Westlake Blvd. last night, right past BJ’s. It took me an hour to get home. There were almost 200 cars ahead of me. Every single person ten cars ahead were pulled out (people were very well dressed, they were asked to sit on chairs next to the curb for testing) and their cars were taken away. It was an unbelievable scene for a Westlake Village neighborhood. The officer was very nice to me. I guess I was one of the exceptions that I got to go home.”

This is without cause and it is invasive.

This is what the Thousand Oaks Police Department stated in their press release, something that every other department in the county states:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent. Ninety percent of California drivers approve of checkpoints.

By examining the Thousand Oaks results it’s hard to tell exactly where those cost savings could be found. Five drivers ticketed/arrested for driving without a license, one arrested on a criminal charge other than DUI and 17 citations issued – for what violations?

This is from the Thousand Oaks Police Department’s media release announcing the above DUI checkpoint:

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the Thousand Oaks Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Again this is what we are seeing in all of the press releases, an admission that the Federal funds are going through state offices to bankroll these checkpoints.  Is this a good use of limited resources?  Is it yielding cost effective results?   Something just isn’t adding up with stopping nearly 500 vehicles, making people get out and wait for testing while their cars are searched.

 Legal considerations:

Supreme.court.1This is all part of a concerted federal effort. However, the Fourth Amendment, in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution forbids unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. Over the years, powerful state forces have considerably eroded this right, unconstitutionally, but with major support of legislative, executive, judicial and law enforcement agencies. There are even Supreme Court rulings upholding these major violations of constitutional rights. The justification is protection of the public.  The public, via the news media and government propaganda, have been told it is for their own good and most either buy it or are resigned to being powerless to oppose it. But whether 50, 90, or 99% can be stampeded into approving it, legislators vote for it, executives mandate it, courts rule it, it is still unconstitutional. One does not vote on it, majority doesn’t rule, law does and the Constitution is Supreme, or is at least supposed to be.

Keep in mind that statutes have been passed to mandate that and bribes in the form of federal funding go to states and law enforcement agencies to ease the pain and in fact finance these intrusions.

DUI stops are only one aspect of a coordinated, well-funded, statist attempt to erase Fourth Amendment rights.  Most of us are familiar with unconstitutional stop and frisk searches in major (and not so major) urban areas, intrusive “Homeland Security” searches at airports, which are more often being shockingly extended to trains, roadways and even major event venues. Most people have become aware of the nearly total NSA surveillance of electronic media exposed by Edward Snowden, who is now being vilified for that, while NSA continues to stonewall. Police habitually push the boundaries of personal, automotive and even property searches without proper warrants or even probable cause.  All of this has been mostly supported by legislatures and courts, without any benefit of constitutional amendments.

A DUI Attorney’s Point of View:

olesonChristina

Christina Oleson, Esq

Christina Oleson, Esq. of Oleson Law [email protected] (760) 787-0609, a criminal defense (including DUI) attorney, weighed in, too. She doesn’t agree with the use of DUI “checkpoints,” but courts have at least placed some limits on them, which helps contain them and provides some legal defense opportunities. Ms. Oleson agrees with Bruce Boyer that patrols and probable cause are the best DUI enforcement method.

Read our upcoming article based upon our very interesting 8/25/14 exclusive interview of Ms. Oleson on DUI, where she offers a wealth of informed observations and advice. But her best advice is “Don’t drink and drive. EVER.” 

However, there are other more constitutional ways to mitigate the hazards of drivers under the influence of mind-altering chemicals.

 

From Civil Liberties advocate Bruce Boyer:

The task force covered above used the same number of cops that would have been deployed at a road block DUI checkpoint. They did not need to violate the Rights of innocent citizens by doing searches without probable cause. The efforts by the same number of officers as would be deployed at a single checkpoint made 900% MORE DUI arrests. The average checkpoint yields less than two DUI arrests (yes, I  see a lot of the figures. The checkpoints that are protested yield even fewer, seems they should not do checkpoints if a couple of protesters make them pointless) The California Highway Patrol, CHP, proves that checkpoints do not make the roads safer. CHP’s Impaired Driving Task Force netted 18 DUIs, 3 Felony drug arrests, in Antelope Valley over the weekend. If the politicians cared about making the roads safer, they would deploy these DUI task forces, not roadblocks. Who will be killed by drunk drivers who was not apprehended because the politicians ordered 18 cops to man one checkpoint rather than be on patrol? Will the politicians be held accountable for those deaths? For violating the Rights of us all?

Justice demands that free men and women not live in a country with checkpoints, no wonder that tyranny results in less security, not more.

From Local government:

From Oxnard PD web site

The Oxnard Police Department Traffic Unit constantly evaluates our traffic collision and DUI related statistics to ensure we are targeting the problem areas within the city. 

Implementing techniques that target these areas have yielded a consistent 20% reduction in traffic collisions, and DUI related offenses in 2010. 

Some of the techniques we use include but are not limited to; multiple officer saturation patrols, undercover surveillance operations, DUI checkpoints, and public awareness campaigns.

From Ventura County Sheriff’s Office web site:

DUI/Drivers License checkpoints have been shown to lower DUI deaths and injuries.  A major component of these checkpoints are the deterrent effects it has on those who might drive drunk or drugged impaired, bringing about more awareness and encouraging everyone to use sober designated drivers. 

Here’s a CHP report on an unusually productive DUI stop campaign:

 

Monday August 18, 2014, 3:46 PM

California Highway Patrol – Southern Division
Community: CHP’s Impaired Driving Task Force nets 18 DUIs, 3 Felony drug arrests, in Antelope Valley over the weekend.Hi XXXX,On Saturday 8/16/2014, the California Highway Patrol, Antelope Valley Area deployed the Impaired Driving Task Force in an effort to remove as many impaired drivers off the roadway.The Antelope Valley times joined the CHP for a ride along to document our efforts.Read their article here: http://theavtimes.com/2014/08/18/chp-task-force-cracks-down-on-impaired-drivers/“We’re saturating the entire Antelope Valley in our efforts to reduce the number or crashes involving DUI,” said CHP Officer Gil Hernandez. “Our goal is to try and catch them before they crash and hurt themselves, or hurt or kill somebody else.”According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2013, every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.- See more at: http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/drunk-driving-statistics.html#sthash.6WHYR31Y.dpufThe California Highway Patrol’s mission is to reduce roadway deaths and one way of doing that is by taking impaired drivers off the road.Contact Information:
Officer Edgar Figueroa
California Highway Patrol, Southern Division
818-240-8200
[email protected]For full details, view this message on the web.

Sent by California Highway Patrol – Southern Division
411 Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91203

 Some checkpoints:

 https://citizensjournal.us/police-to-setup-dui-checkpoints-across-county/

https://citizensjournal.us/dui-checkpoints-to-be-setup-around-thousand-oaks/

https://citizensjournal.us/dui-checkpoint-to-be-conducted-in-oxnard-may-30th/

https://citizensjournal.us/memorial-day-weekend-police-will-man-oxnard-dui-checkpoints/

Read DUI- An attorney’s view: https://citizensjournal.us/on-dui-an-attorneys-view/

 

Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

 Bruce Boyer is the Chief Instigator of the SonsofLibertyLA. Since 2010 they have been a “boots on the ground” Civil Rights action group. The group gets out to take action to defend our Civil Rights as free men and women. They get out to shut down checkpoints, turn the tables on ‘gun-buy-backs’; speak out at City Council meeting; get the word out at public events and more. Civil Rights are as spelled out in our Bill of Rights.

George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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5 Responses to DUI Checkpoints- Triumph for public safety or war on the U.S. Constitution?

  1. Citizen Reporter September 3, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Are Sobriety Checkpoints Really Unconstitutional?

    http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/09/are-sobriety-checkpoints-really-unconstitutional/

    Reply

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