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Is social media undermining the effectiveness of CA DUI checkpoints?

In the last few years, efforts to share the location of checkpoints through social media and other websites have drawn criticism.
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    December 08, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Many people in San Diego, California, have driven through a DUI checkpoint at some point. Besides serving as a trap for people who are driving intoxicated, checkpoints give law enforcement officials an opportunity to educate people on DUI penalties and discourage drunk driving.

In the last few years, efforts to share the location of checkpoints through social media and other websites have drawn criticism. Although proponents say that more people abstain from driving intoxicated when they know there will be checkpoints, critics say that sharing checkpoint locations helps people get away with drinking and driving. Recent events indicate that, either way, sharing of checkpoint locations may be impacting the number of DUI arrests made.

Arrests near San Diego down

San Diego's CBS 8 reported earlier this year that a San Diego State University graduate was causing controversy with his MrCheckpoint website. Through the website and social media accounts, checkpoint locations in San Diego and other parts of southern California were published and seen by thousands of people. A recent article suggests that this kind of sharing may be having a serious effect.

The San Diego Union-Tribune article reported in September that in Poway, which is just an hour from San Diego, DUI arrests over the last year have not been impressive. The Poway Sheriff's Department was given a yearlong grant to fund checkpoints, but with five checkpoints set up so far this year, results have been limited:
- More than 7,000 vehicles passed through the checkpoints.
- Deputies inspected more than 3,000 of those vehicles.
- Only one DUI arrest had been made as of September.

A member of the Sheriff's Department interviewed in the article believes that one arrest does not reflect the number of people driving intoxicated in Poway, and that intoxicated drivers must be avoiding the checkpoints. Publication of checkpoint locations could contribute to this trend, although publication could also be encouraging more drivers to stay sober.

Either way, it seems that the availability of this information may be affecting driver behavior. Although some drivers may be tempted to rely on these resources to help avoid DUI arrests, it is important to remember that there are better ways to do that.

Avoiding DUI convictions

Impaired drivers can put themselves and others at significant risk. Even when no one is hurt, the financial and even social toll of a DUI conviction can be staggering. First-time offenders alone can face up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines, and the penalties only increase for people with prior convictions. These penalties can be disruptive to a person's work, social life and other responsibilities.

The best way to avoid a DUI is to avoid driving with any alcohol in your system, either by abstaining from drinking or by finding another way to get home. If you do drink at all, it is very important to limit yourself or, if you go past a couple of drinks, find an alternative to driving.

In the event that you do drive intoxicated and are arrested for DUI, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can. An attorney can protect your rights and improve your likelihood of seeing a favorable outcome.

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