As a motorist in California, it's prudent for you to be careful about how much alcohol you drink before hitting the road, whether you are leaving a party or have just spent an evening out socializing with friends.
Law enforcement is always looking for more effective ways to crack down on drunk drivers. One way this is done is by establishing checkpoints in designated areas. Some checkpoints are apparent and can be spotted blocks ahead. These normally consist of points where every vehicle is stopped and quickly checked. Police may also set up hidden checkpoints by having a patrol car or police on motorcycle remain out of sight and check for erratic driving. Checkpoints are also more common during the weekends, holidays and evenings as there are more people out drinking during these times.
Checkpoints are one of law enforcements favorite tools when it comes to finding DUI offenders in Los Angeles and Southern California, and for good reason. Checkpoints allow police to stop vehicles, and allow them to get a close look at you, your actions and your vehicle without the burden of proving a traffic stop was illegal. They often find many other offenders during the operation of the checkpoint as well, including many regulatory offenses such as expired license tags or faulty equipment on the vehicle.
Your evening may have started innocently enough. Perhaps you had dinner with your significant other and had a few glasses of wine or beer. Or you may have been out playing softball or touch football with friends and had a few beers during the game or afterwards. You may not realize it at the time but your blood alcohol could be above the legal limit and if you are pulled over by police, you can be charged with a DUI.
Can you imagine how difficult life would be without being able to drive? Think about how many times you jump in the car for a quick trip to the store, the dry cleaners or to pick up your child from a friend’s house. With countless errands needing to be run on weekends and using the car to get to and from entertainment activities, we spend a big portion of our time driving. And that’s before you consider the commute to and from work.
A DUI is a serious crime. The repercussions can be devastating, even for first offenders. In certain circumstances they can be sentenced to jail time. If you have a felony DUI which could mean you may have driven drunk and injured a person with your car, you could spend years in state prison. It can be difficult to get hired for a job with DUI conviction on your record, and a felony conviction is even worse. Aggravated DUIs carry tougher penalties than conventional DUI crimes. When someone is charged with an aggravated DUI, they may have refused a breathalyzer test, or have taken a test and had a blood alcohol reading that is a .15 or higher. Children may have been present in the vehicle as well or the driver may have caused an accident where someone was injured.
Imagine that you are going out to celebrate your birthday or another special occasion. You may plan to meet friends, have dinner and then go to a club. Or maybe you are at a party in someone’s house watching a Monday Night Football game. You may decide to have a drink or two and feel like you are okay to drive. But on the way home, you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint. The officer suspects you have been drinking and your blood alcohol is tested and is over .08 percent. You are considered to be Driving Under the Influence.
Drunk driving campaigns are becoming extremely aggressive. Some entertainment venues such as county fairs or jubilees now have displays set up that show the public the destruction that a drunk driver can cause. Colleges and universities often have programs to raise awareness in the student body about the effects of alcohol and how being convicted for a DUI can be devastating. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) are instrumental in lobbying for tougher penalties and raising awareness within their communities. People are not sitting idly by and allowing drunk drivers to get off without a hitch.
In the State of California, both the officials of the courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your driver’s license. A license can be suspended for anywhere from 30 days to an indefinite period of time depending on the seriousness of the offense. Sometimes, if your license is suspended in states such as California, you can receive a restricted license. For instance, if you were convicted of a first-offense DUI, you may be eligible for a restricted license that allows you to drive to your job and back.