Driving between the hours of 10pm and 6am in San Diego County is like picking apples off trees for law enforcement. It’s not “if” you get arrested if you drink and drive…….its “when” you get arrested for a DUI in San Diego County. In the past few years I’ve noticed San Diego County has adopted a “zero tolerance for DUI’s” attitude. Law Enforcement simply need a reason to pull you over and if you’ve had anything to drink you can plan on going to jail. Here’s a few examples of traffic stops reported to me by my clients arrested for DUI’s in San Diego County over the past few years. It starts out like this…..the police officer will say “do you know why I pulled you over?”
- You drove thru a red light.
- You drove thru a stop sign.
- You didn’t make a full stop at a stop sign.
- You were driving the wrong direction on a one way street.
- You made a sudden lane change.
- You didn’t use a turn signal when you changed lanes.
- Your tail light is out.
- You were swerving. (most popular)
- You were driving too fast.
- You were driving too slow.
As you can see it doesn’t take very much for a police officer to pull you over. Officers are trained to watch drivers out on the road between 10pm and 6am. In most cases drivers were out to dinner or at some sort of social function and they probably had a glass of wine, beer or hard liquor. Once the police officer has you pulled over and tells you why he/she pulled you over the next question is a “game changer.” Here it comes……”HAVE YOU BEEN DRINKING?” Think long and hard before you answer this question. Don’t lie to a police officer because that never works out well for you. The bail will be even higher. If you say “yes” you’re going to jail. No matter what happens next the result will be the same in almost every case. You’re going to jail. If you agree to blow in the Breathalyzer and your BAC comes back anything above .01 you’re going to jail. The police officer has determined that you are “impaired” so you cannot get back into your vehicle and drive again. If you refuse to blow and agree to have your blood drawn the officer will handcuff you and take you to the police station or jail to have your blood drawn. Since it takes several weeks to get the BAC results you can plan on spending about 8+ hours in jail and having to post bail. In San Diego County a first DUI is a $2,500. bail. If you refuse to blow or have your blood drawn you’re going to jail and your California Driver’s License will be automatically suspended for 1 year. No matter what you say to the officer about drinking or not drinking, or taking prescription medications the officer will conduct a sobriety test. If the officer determines that you’re unable to pass the sobriety test you will be going to jail. How can you avoid being arrested? You could stay off the roads between 10pm and 6am. That’s one way to solve that problem. How about taking a taxi or have a designated driver? The easiest way to avoid being one of those apples picked off the tree is don’t drink and drive.
So you aren’t convinced that driving impaired in any fashion between the hours of 10pm and 6am is risky business? How about the cost of being arrested for a DUI in San Diego County? First be ready to take public transportation for a while since your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of time. Or perhaps you prefer to ride a bike for a while? Car Pooling with friends? Taxi Cabs? According to Mr. Checkpoint the statistics are staggering. “The cost of DUI’s in the United States is over $114,000,000,000. (that’s $114 Billion) annually. Approximately 3 of every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash some time in their lives.”
In San Diego County the cost of a 1st offense DUI conviction is over $10,000.
- Towing your vehicle $350-$450 (and that’s if you can find the Vehicle Registration in the glove box)
- Add $38 to $50 per day for your vehicle in the impound lot if you can’t bail your vehicle out.
- DMV Reinstatement of your Driver’s License $125.
- Pre-Sentencing Probation Report $1127.
- DUI Fine $1756.
- MADD Victim Impact Panel (voluntary donation of $20…pay it or you may end up with a Warrant for failure to complete the class)
- Supervised Probation (3 years) $3564
- Increase in your automobile insurance $4600.
- Attorney Fees if you choose to hire your own attorney. (if you enjoy sitting at the court for hours, paying for parking and listening to others arrested for DUI’s, forgo the private attorney and use the Public Defender.
- Don’t forget to fill out the Financial Declaration (signed under penalty of perjury) which forces you to show where all of your money is hidden. Bank accounts, under the mattress, piggy bank, stocks and bonds, IRA, checking accounts, saving accounts…..and then San Diego County will tell you how much you have as “disposable income” and set up a payment plan for you to make payments for the Public Defender (they’re not free), fines and other court costs. And if you fail to make a payment on time to the court for anything be ready to see a Deputy at your front door to arrest you and take you back to jail. San Diego County doesn’t have a Collections Dept.
- Aside from missing this opportunity to sit like a sardine in a barrel while you wait in the court business office for hours waiting for your paperwork…….
- with a private attorney your case will slow down and you actually might get a better deal if you have a good attorney that handles a large caseload of DUI’s and knows the major players at the courts. It’s about wheeling and dealing at this level. A DUI conviction in San Diego County is going to make your life a living nightmare.
The next time you go out in the evening in San Diego think twice before you get behind the wheel and try to drive home if you had any alcohol to drink and you’re impaired. The odds are against you and the chances are great that you could end up in jail, the hospital or the morgue.
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- MADD honors top DUI cops (utsandiego.com)