California police aggressively targeting drunk drivers in the New Year

Many law enforcement agencies have run extensive crackdowns on drunk driving during the holidays. Motorists may have even encountered police roadblocks as they traveled throughout various cities in California. While the holidays may be over, law enforcement officers have remained committed to removing drunk drivers from state roadways. With more police on the roads and more advance techniques available to determine if an individual is impaired, motorists need to be sure that they have a sober driver in place if they plan on drinking alcohol.

A new law recently went into effect that may make it easier for law enforcement to obtain blood samples from those drivers suspected of DUI that refuse to submit to a blood test. If a motorist declines to provide a blood sample to police, the officer may obtain a search warrant to have a sample produced in a reasonably, medically approved manner. This means the offender may be taken to a nearby medical facility to have the sample retrieved.

Motorists who refuse to submit to a blood or breath test at these roadblocks will face the automatic suspension of their driving privileges under the state's implied consent laws. This suspension will remain in place, even if the motorists are not subsequently charged with DUI.

Police have also added another tool in their fight against those drivers who may be using controlled substances before getting behind the wheel. Some California law enforcement agencies have starting using a swab test that checks for recent usage of marijuana or cocaine. While the use has been limited to the Los Angeles area, if it proves to be successful, it may become an option for more agencies throughout the state.

It is expected that there will be several sobriety checkpoints and increased police DUI patrols over the next few months. Officials want to make sure that motorists are aware of the penalties of a DUI conviction, and will be aggressive when trying to find drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you find yourself stopped by police, remain calm. You may be nervous, and think that responding the officer's questions will make your situation easier. Do not admit to having anything to drink before driving, as the officer may use this to pursue a more in-depth investigation to determine if you are impaired.

You may decline field sobriety tests as well, but know that police still have some options to decide whether or not you will be arrested. If you are arrested, you should request that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney present to assist you at this time. An attorney can be at your side as you are questioned by police, and will examine the evidence that law enforcement has against you. This will allow you to understand your options, and begin preparing a defense to these charges.