Local police will face stricter rules for their DUI checkpoints if a bill by Santa Rosa Assemblyman Michael Allen is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Assembly last week gave final approval, 48-25, to the bill, AB 1389, before sending it on to Brown.
Overall, the bill would set uniform standards for how DUI checkpoints are operated across the state, based on a 1987 state Supreme Court ruling, Ingersoll v. Palmer, that allowed the checkpoints if certain factors are met. Local checkpoints have been operated in accordance with the court’s ruling. But AB 1389 would make some changes to local DUI checkpoints, including:
–Police would have to provide at least 48 hours notice of the checkpoint’s general location and two hours notice of the specific location. Now, local police typically are as general as possible in giving the location, such as somewhere in Santa Rosa or somewhere in Sonoma County, and refuse to give a specific spot.
–Drivers who encounter a checkpoint may avoid being stopped “by simply making a legal turn within the confines of the existing traffic laws.” Now, some drivers who turn away are stopped by officers.
Allen’s bill originally also would have limited police impounds of cars found at DUI checkpoints to be driven by unlicensed drivers. That provision was dropped from the bill and Allen joined Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, in sponsoring AB 353 that includes the impound issue. That bill also is on the governor’s desk awaiting his action.
In a statement on AB 1389, Allen said “codifying Ingersoll will lead to uniformity of checkpoints in the state. In some locations, sobriety checkpoints have been used more as license checkpoints, something which serves to lessen the focus of sobriety checkpoints, which is to reduce drinking and driving.
“On average, DUI checkpoints impound seven vehicles for every drunk driver arrest, and the number of impoundments is steadily increasing. Despite good intentions, the increase in impoundments for driving without a license creates the perception that the police are misusing their authority in order to generate revenues and are targeting neighborhoods where they are likely to find more unlicensed drivers. This undermines respect for the law and for law enforcement, which is crucial for effective community policing. Perhaps more important, by ignoring the findings of Ingersoll v. Palmer, law enforcement may provoke new legal challenges which could ultimately result in DUI checkpoints being found unconstitutional.”
Other provisions of AB 1389 include:
–Vehicle inspection checkpoints, such as for mechanical or safety issues, couldn’t be combined with DUI checkpoints.
–The location of the checkpoint must be based on a high incidence of DUI arrests or a high volume of DUI-related accidents.
To read the full bill, CLICK HERE.
Messages have been left for local police officials seeking their comments on the bill.
Where Brown stands on AB 1389 or AB 353 is unknown. But he told reporters Wednesday in Sacramento that he will veto many of the hundreds of bills sent to him.
“I’m going to veto a lot of bills over the next 30 days,” Brown said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “So, I have to say to some, ‘Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be a rough ride. You’ve given me 600 bills, and there’s not 600 problems that we need those solutions for.”
“Not every human problem needs a law,” he said. “That’s kind of my first principle that I’ll be applying.”
Brown did not say what bills he plans to veto.