The holiday season is notorious for being a dangerous time on public roadways.
While this may partially be caused by increases in traffic and more out-of-town
motorists traveling the streets, drunk and drugged driving play a substantial
role in increasing the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths –
especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. As such,
law enforcement officers across the nation – including those here
in California and Ventura County, aggressively increase DUI enforcement.
At The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert, our Ventura criminal defense attorneys
have experience representing clients facing
DUI allegations ranging from a first time offense to multiple DUIs and
felony charges – including those that occurred during holidays and as the
result of increased enforcement initiatives. Not only do our attorneys
draw from their extensive experience handling criminal proceedings and
DMV hearings involving DUI, we are also able to leverage our insight as former police
officers when investigating and advocating for clients.
As former police officers, our team is well aware of the tactics law enforcement
use when they increase their focus on stopping and arresting impaired
motorists. These commonly include:
DUI checkpoints – DUI checkpoints, also referred to as sobriety checkpoints, are
legal in the state of California. These checkpoints consist of law enforcement
officers who make investigatory contact with motorists in hopes of catching
drivers who are under the influence, or who are driving without a valid
license. Although DUI checkpoints are not unconstitutional in and of themselves,
law enforcement officers must still abide by special rules and procedures
when conducting them so as not to violate an individual’s rights.
Saturation patrols – Many law enforcement agencies utilize saturation patrols when
cracking down on DUIs. These patrols involve officers focused on identifying
and stopping motorists who display signs of intoxication, including swerving,
unsafe speeds, and other traffic violations. They are often conducted
during periods when DUI accidents are statistically more common (such
as weekends, nights, and holidays), and at locations where drinking or
alcohol-related incidents are common.
Increased police presence – Holiday DUI enforcement also typically involves having more officers
on the road. Thanks to various grants, local agencies can put more officers
on patrol to stop and arrest suspects.
While DUI checkpoints and increased DUI enforcement is important to protecting
the public, there are always rules and procedures law enforcement must
abide by when stopping, investigating, and arresting suspects. This includes
having reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop and arrest motorist
suspected of a crime. Although this is generally a requirement for most
DUI investigations, the California Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety
checkpoints are equivalent to airport screenings, and that they are an
exception to the Fourth Amendment rule requiring probable cause to conduct
Just because an investigation and arrest takes place at a DUI checkpoint
does not mean you are guilty. Officers still need to comply with rules
and abide by your constitutional rights. During periods of increased enforcement,
their zealousness to make arrests may cause them to fail in doing so.
Should they fail to abide by the law, any search or arrest they make could
be considered unlawful, and form the basis of legal challenges to have
key evidence thrown out or a case dismissed entirely. Because every case
is different, your available defense options depend on the unique facts
surrounding your stop and arrest.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for a holiday DUI in Ventura
County, The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert is available to help.
Contact us for a FREE consultation.