28th Dec 2013
The LAPD is planning a New Year’s crackdown on impaired driving and will include a new test for drugs — an oral swab that checks for marijuana, cocaine and several other drugs. Submitting to the test is technically “voluntary.” But most individuals confronted by a police officer at a DUI checkpoint don’t think to question whether they are “volunteering” or simply obeying the officer’s orders. Subsequent challenges to the legality of the test become difficult when a court finds the individual submitted voluntarily. If asked to submit to such a test, an individual should make clear to the officer that they will comply if ordered but are not doing so voluntarily. The new oral swab test checks for cocaine, benzodiazepine (Xanax), methamphetamine, amphetamines, narcotic analgesics, methadone and THC.
On Saturday (December 28), checkpoints will be set up in Arcadia, San Gabriel, Whittier, downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Northridge, Redondo Beach, South Los Angeles and the west San Fernando Valley. Law enforcement officials have stated that they anticipate making a large number of arrests from the crackdown. The conviction rate for DUI cases in Los Angeles County is greater than 70% and (according to the AAA) the cost for a first-time conviction for people over 21 is around $16,000 in fines, fees and auto insurance cost increases. According to Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Feuer, the conviction rate in the City of Los Angeles is 99% — an astoundingly high figure.
A first-time DUI conviction in Los Angeles County will also result in the DMV requiring you to install an “ignition interlock device” in your vehicle as a condition of getting your license back after a period of suspension. This is an additional cost and inconvenience which you can easily spare yourself. PLAN AHEAD! If you are going out this New Year’s, check out the NCADD of Orange County’s page on “designated driver” services or Google “Designated Driver Services Los Angeles.” You can still have a good time and (for a lot less than $16,000) get home safely.