San Diego DUI criminal defense attorneys challenge the competency and qualifications of officers when they can. One group of east county officers are now getting DUI training.

San Diego County sheriff’s substation in Ramona is finally going to train all its deputies to be certified by the state to test drivers’ breath and blood for alcohol and drugs.

6 Ramona deputies have been trained in last four months and certified by the state to test seemingly impaired drivers for alcohol and drugs, Lt. Duncan Fraser said. He said he hopes to have the remaining 11 certified by the end of the year so that the substation can better help California Highway Patrol with DUI patrols and checkpoints.

Relatively small substations in unincorporated areas such as Ramona often have a smattering of sheriff’s deputies who are trained to screen drivers for alcohol and drugs, Fraser said, but they don’t often have a universally certified staff of deputies.

Ramona substation deputies have always been able to use probable cause to stop impaired drivers and take them to the substation, Fraser said. But they often called the CHP to make final arrests because many deputies lacked state certification to confirm intoxication with chemical testing.

Deputies aren’t required to get certification because department policy leaves most traffic arrests up to the CHP in unincorporated areas that don’t contract the Sheriff’s Department for special services, he explained.

CHP officers are certified by the time they graduate from the training academy, Fraser said.

“It’s always been the protocol that in unincorporated areas CHP picks up that part of enforcement,” Fraser said of DUI arrests. “It doesn’t mean that we don’t do DUI stops —- we always have —- but this will allow us to finish the arrests without relying on CHP.”

Deputies can make DUI arrests without certification, Ramona deputies said, but that untrained deputies often defer to the CHP because an arrest is stronger in court if the arresting officer has met state training standards.

To get certified, deputies must complete 24 hours of training. They must learn how to tell drunken driving from bad driving, how to spot symptoms of intoxication, how to do field sobriety tests, and the protocol for conducting blood or breath tests.

Ramona’s substation already has a breathalyzer because CHP officers use the station as a satellite office, Fraser said, so he didn’t anticipate extra costs for equipment.

Deputies will receive training from the sheriff’s station in Poway, San Diego DUI criminal defense lawyers learned today.

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