DUI checkpoints in San Diego County and elsewhere in California are often a waste of taxpayer money when little or no drunk driving arrests happen, San Diego DUI criminal defense attorneys have been told by news agencies.

San Diego DUI roadblocks also are an inconvenience to drivers who are just trying to get somewhere. And what about that person who had just one or two drinks with dinner? Should he or she think about lawyering up when trapped inside a San Diego DUI checkpoint?

The big DUI checkpoint debate now is in 2 states considering effectiveness and lawfulness of DUI checkpoints.

Utah’s proposed bill going to the state House of Representatives will completely ban police from setting up DUI checkpoints. The sponsor of the bill says DUI checkpoints violate citizens’ rights against unreasonable searches. “The Utah Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have both held that they are constitutional under very narrow guidelines, but that’s problematic.”

New Hampshire’s proposal prohibits state police from setting up DUI checkpoints, again citing possible violations of citizen’s civil rights. The state lawmakers are concerned with citizens’ “due process rights when they are arrested for other violations or their vehicles are searched.”

Supporters of DUI checkpoints such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving argue that the tactic does improve public safety. They add that checkpoints do not violate civil rights because citizens are only detained briefly and strict guidelines govern what police may and may not do in connection with the checkpoints.

The current debate follows the discussion in many jurisdictions last year as to whether it is a good thing or a bad thing for people to spread the word that checkpoints are in place at a particular time and place.

Several senators were pressing Apple, Google and Research In Motion to stop selling or otherwise making available smartphone apps that help drunk drivers avoid DUI checkpoints, asserting that such apps were “harmful to public safety.”

DUI police in Edmonton and Calgary, Canada, had begun asking the public to refrain from tweeting the locations of DUI checkpoints set up to catch drunk drivers, because they said doing so may put other motorists in danger. This position was not shared by police in Saskatoon, Canada, however, who took the opposite approach and even started alerting citizens themselves using Twitter as to when checkpoints were planned. The Saskatoon police believe that if people know police checkpoints are in place, they will think twice about drunk driving.

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