MADD Opposes Bill to Prevent Enforcing Other Laws at DUI Checkpoints

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has come out strongly in opposition to a pending California bill that would prevent law enforcement officers from enforcing certain laws at sobriety checkpoints.  Assembly Bill 1389 would limit the ability of law-enforcement officers at checkpoints to enforce other laws, like those against driving under a suspended license.

Misuse of law-enforcement powers have meant an increase in the number of impoundments of vehicles belonging to motorists driving without a valid license.  In California, many sobriety checkpoints record greater numbers of people punished for driving without a license every year, than those arrested for driving under the influence.

Assembly Bill 1389 would prevent this.  The bill would also prevent law-enforcement officers at a sobriety checkpoint from checking for probation violations and outstanding warrants.  Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys have come out strongly against such actions by police officers at checkpoints.  Most of the vehicles that are impounded at these checkpoints belong to Hispanics and people from ethnic communities, and when these vehicles are impounded, these people are put through tremendous inconvenience.  They have no transportation to take them to school or to work, and they cannot afford to get their vehicle released.  In fact, revenues from vehicle impoundments at checkpoints have increased steadily, increasing at a higher rate than the number of DUI arrests at these checkpoints.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving however wants sobriety checkpoints to look not just for drunk drivers, but also to ensure that motorists with prior drunk driving convictions are not in violation of the law.  The group believes that Assembly Bill 1389 would allow more drivers, who have a suspended license due to a DUI conviction to drive freely throughout California.

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