Pacific Beach…Encinitas…and the Gaslamp is the main targets of San Diego DUI checkpoints. These are hot spots for the summer. The police said, “if you plan to consume alcohol you should also plan not to get behind the wheel”.
Well sir….that would be legal. It is very legal to have some drinks an drive. Just do not be impaired or at a .08% blood alcohol level. I have little issue with checkpoints. They have a purpose. The problem is what happens to the citizen who uses their rights? For example…lets say Josh is in Encinitas and just finished watching Team USA play Germany in the World Cup. He had four beers over the course of four hours. He is somewhere between .02%-.04% as he drives into the checkpoint.
The officer approaches his window and after saying good evening asks if he had anything to drink. Josh refuses to answer the question (He has the right to do so you know). Of course it would be easier to talk to the police…but as Americans we have a right to not want to talk to people. So, the officer gets a little mad about Josh refusing to answer the question. He orders him out the vehicle. Now, the officer smells the faint smell alcohol on Josh. He did have a few beers and he was at the bar the last few hours. Josh does not answer any questions. Josh declines any field sobriety tests, including the field breath test (PAS).
The officer has very little evidence to suggest impairment…a smell of alcohol. Maybe a touch of red eyes. There was no bad driving (drove into checkpoint). You know what the officer does….arrests Josh. He takes his drivers license. He places handcuffs on him and puts him in the vehicle. Josh’s car is now towed. Josh then will head to the station. It is there that Josh takes a blood test.
Josh gets to spend a night in jail before getting the opportunity to bail out (and spend hundreds doing so).
Josh has to head to court weeks later for a San Diego DUI. Josh is already out $1,000 with a DMV license suspension looming. It is eventually found out that Josh was .03%. Well folks….a lot of damage has already been done. The officer SHOULD of let Josh go because he did not have enough probable cause to make an arrest. But…they want these arrest numbers. They also know a few of these people will be impaired so it will be ok.
What is the true bottom line in regards to San Diego Checkpoints….. Give up your rights and make sure you say “yes sir” even if you had a few beers and know you are under .08%….maybe then they will let you go. The crap thing is so many people will agree with that statement…and gloss over the fact that in THIS country you have rights. It is not about what you did or did not do. It is about what you can or cannot do.
This is the unspoken casualty in San Diego DUI checkpoints.
San Diego police netted 14 DUI drivers in a checkpoint that wrapped up early Sunday in Pacific Beach, an officer said.
The checkpoint operated in the 2600 block of Ingraham Street from 11 p.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday, said San Diego police Officer Mark McCullough.
More than 1000 vehicles passed through the checkpoint with 606 screened by officers, McCullough said.
“Twenty-nine motorists were detained for further evaluation of their sobriety and 14 arrests were made for DUI in or near the checkpoint,” he said. “Fifteen vehicles were also impounded.”
The message is simple, McCullough said. “Drive sober or get pulled over. If you plan to consume alcohol you should also plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride a motorcycle.”
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