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Did obama create more dui's

Dale Gribow Jan. 22, 2015

President Obama's trip to our Desert will arguably result in more DUI's. However an argument can be made both ways. You could argue that all of our local law enforcement will be out protecting the President and his entourage and thus leaving fewer officers to patrol the streets for bad drivers and other crimes.

Because of expected demonstrators law enforcement from other counties has also been called to assist. Thus we will have had the greatest presence of police ever this last week.

However, the officer's focus was on protecting the President and they "might ignore" minor traffic violations which often result in a DUI. Traditionally an officer sees someone speeding or weaving and when the officer stops the driver they smell alcohol.

A stop gives the police probable cause to investigate further and ask the driver to exit the vehicle. Upon exiting, the officer may smell alcohol and or observe the driver having trouble getting out of the car and standing. The police will use that to argue they now have the right to give the driver a field sobriety test....and eventually a chemical test.

During meetings/golf, the officers have a lot of down time. While driving down 111 in Rancho Mirage on Monday, I saw 12 RSO officers just waiting and talking to one another. When the President "moves" they then have to focus on him. Otherwise with all their down time they might act upon serious vehicle violations. When they smell alcohol the DUI procedures start.

This expanded presence is similar to DUI saturation patrols. The Coachella Valley is DUI sensitive because we have more DUI fatalities in the CV than anywhere else in California...per capita. There should have been more arrests and fatalities over the last week because of the President and his entourage.

The idea behind a saturation patrol is that a large number of law enforcement officers will "make their presence known" by conducting stops, targeting inebriated, distracted, aggressive and speeding drivers, as well as those with seatbelt or cell phone violations....the whole nine yards of traffic violations. The protection of the President is arguably the biggest saturation patrol possible.

An impaired driver makes many mistakes. They are not aware, unless they read my weekly legal columns, that the field sobriety and breath test at the scene are optional. Thus you do not have to take the walk the line, finger to nose, alphabet and other sobriety tests. Likewise the breath test at the scene (unless you are on probation) is optional.

A potential DUI driver should be cooperative and politely explain "attorney Dale Gribow advised them not to talk without their lawyer's permission." Thus the driver remains the Good Guy and the Lawyer is the Fall Guy.

The driver should explain "they understand Field Sobriety and Breath Tests at the scene are OPTIONAL. If that is correct Mr. Officer, then I elect not to take them. Then explain that they are happy to cooperate with law enforcement and take a blood test."

Whether you call it buzzed, drunk, faced, blitzed, deuced, loaded, it is all the same.

You do not have to be drunk but merely under the influence. Remember: THINK DON'T DRINK.

If you have questions or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow at 760-565-0533.


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