Despite budget cuts that limited the amount of officers on the streets, California law enforcement agencies were still able to make their presence felt during the holiday season. Over the course of the “Avoid” campaign, police in Contra Costa and Alameda counties participated in a number of saturation patrols and checkpoints in an effort to minimize California DUIs.
Both Alameda and Contra Costa counties experienced a decrease in the number of DUI arrests from the same time period in 2009. The number of accidents involving an intoxicated driver decreased by about thirty percent in Alameda County this year and neither county experienced a drunk driving related fatality during the holidays.
The decrease in the number of officers on the street may have been partly responsible for the decrease in DUI arrests, but increased awareness and severe DUI punishments could have played a part as well. California has some of the most severe DUI punishments of any state in the country and many drivers could be actively seeking sober forms of transportation in an effort to avoid those punishments.
A first time DUI offender in California could face fines of up to one thousand dollars and be required to spend up to eight months in jail depending upon the individual details of the case. A California DUI conviction may also cause a driver to lose their license for up to four months and require them to attend a mandatory alcohol treatment program.
Any driver convicted of a DUI in California will also be required to show proof of SR22 insurance coverage in order to get their license reinstated following the suspension. The cost of carrying SR22 car insurance is much higher than a traditional insurance policy and could conceivably add thousands of dollars to the total cost of the DUI over the life of the policy.