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DUI Checkpoints In California May Soon Be Regulated

Audio

Aired 9/1/11

Some California cities have been criticized for profiting from DUI checkpoints that target undocumented immigrants by impounding their vehicles.

One of the streets in downtown Escondido where police carry out their controversial DUI and "traffic safety" checkpoints.
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Above: One of the streets in downtown Escondido where police carry out their controversial DUI and "traffic safety" checkpoints.

— Critics of Assembly Bill 1389, like Santa Rosa Democrat Michael Allen, say the current law allows sobriety checkpoints to generate revenues for cities at the expense of undocumented immigrants who aren't allowed to get drivers' licenses.

The California Senate has voted to restrict cities' ability to confiscate cars and charge high towing and impound fees.

The bill was designed in response to the Southern California city of Bell, which filled its city coffers with high impound fees from DUI checkpoints. The city of Escondido has also been criticized for impounding the cars of drivers without licenses, notably undocumented immigrants.

Escondido police Chief Jim Maher, defended the practice

"The checkpoints were started before this became an issue with the illegal immigrant activists," Maher said. "We have done these since the '80s. We have done drivers' license checkpoints - which we now call 'traffic safety checkpoints' - since 2004. Both are totally unrelated to immigration."

Escondido has one of the highest ratios of impounds-to-arrests in California. Police there impound 11 cars for every one DUI arrest.

Comments

Avatar for user 'ablancarte71'

ablancarte71 | September 1, 2011 at 6:37 p.m. ― 2 years, 12 months ago

Why instead of wasting the city's monies, all businesses must be cheked for employees, go straight to the bars, restaurants,landscaping companies, hotels, and car wash to find them, I am Mexican and, I propose to stop this crap and find the real problem, obviously none will say anything about this, so I encourage the government to stop playing the game on immigration, you know where to find them and what to do. Every business in this country is related one way of another with this issue, otherwise your American way of life will change, Hola a todos.

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Avatar for user 'J3rrYcid'

J3rrYcid | January 1, 2013 at 8:44 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Finally, this has been long overdue. Coming from Escondido, I am familiar with DUI Checkpoints being used to impound cars of drivers without licenses. It’s an unethical way of getting money from people who certainly cannot afford it. They should be keeping the money to buy meals or much needed auto parts for their cars. With this new regulation, I hope that the DUI Checkpoints won’t be misused anymore, and it’s used to actually catch drivers who are driving under the influence of alcohol. They are the ones who could endanger their lives and the lives of others. http://www.carid.com

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 1, 2013 at 9:50 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

An unethical way to get money from people? These people are committing a crime be being on the road in the first place. They are unlicensed, uninsured, and what if they crash into your daughter and she ends up in the hospital with a $250,000 medical bill?

Oh, but the poor illegal immigrant drivers, stop persecuting them by catching them in the act of committing a crime. That is mean.

I do not understand your sympathy for people who get caught and punished for committing a crime.

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