On St. Patrick's Day, when California goes Irish, California police
departments go on alert. Each year, sobriety checkpoints and sweeps in
San Diego County -- and across California -- result in a pile of
DUI citations and suspended or revoked licenses. Police officers patrol the roads in
greater number, pulling over drivers who appear to be driving erratically
For example, in San Bernardino County, the "Avoid the 25" campaign
has run for the past several years with great success for law enforcement
there. The "25" represents the number of law enforcement agencies
in the county. On holidays such as St. Patrick's Day, New Years and
Thanksgiving, officers throughout San Bernardino County participate in
DUI checkpoints and "saturation patrols." Historically, such
emphasis by law enforcement has resulted in much higher DUI citation numbers.
Under California law, if you are pulled over under suspicion of DUI and
either record a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or refuse a chemical
test, you can have your license suspended or revoked.
- For a first offense, you may have your license suspended for four months
and up to a year.
- For a second offense within 10 years of the first, a DUI offender may be
given a one-year suspension or have his/her license revoked for two years.
- Finally, on the third fense within 10 years of the first, and upon any
subsequent convictions, drivers face a three-year revocation.
In addition to license suspension or revocation, drivers convicted of a
DUI offense in California may also face up to six months in jail on a
first offense, pay a $1000 in fines, and be forced to install an interlock
While St. Patrick's Day DUI checks are meant to protect drivers, not
every individual who is pulled over and charged with drunk driving is
a characteristically dangerous driver. In addition, breathalyzers are
notoriously problematic in regards to giving accurate readings.
Still, a DUI conviction is a DUI conviction -- regardless of personal
driving history or device malfunction.
Additionally, police expect to see drunk drivers on holidays such as St.
Patrick's Day. While this results in removing many dangerous drivers
from the road, it can also result in charges being levied against an individual
who wouldn't have been charged on any other day.
California takes a tough stance on DUI and, if you have been charged, then
you risk losing your license, money and even your freedom. Whether or
not you have refused a chemical test, it is important that you contact
an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.