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Fri, Feb. 21

Low DUI arrests are a sign of success

At first blush it might seem the drunk driver checkpoint over the past weekend on Highway 89 in Chino Valley was disappointing.

The five-hour effort overCinco de Mayo weekend stopped 1,608 motorists, yet resulted in only four arrests of drivers on charges of driving under the influence.

One of the arrests generated charges of aggravated DUI because the driver involved had a suspended license. The other three were for misdemeanor DUI. The average blood alcohol level was 0.135. The threshold reading for misdemeanor DUI is 0.08 percent. A reading of 0.15 or greater is extreme DUI.

A driver can face charges of aggravated DUI, a felony, if he or she has a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 in addition to any of the following:

• A suspended driver's license.

• A child 15 or younger in the car with him or her.

• Three DUI arrests within 60 months.

Some might take the four DUI arrests in 1,608 stops as a sign of minimal success, but it also might be a sign of increasing success.

DUI checkpoints have been going on for several years.It just might be that once drivers see advance publicity about the checkpoints, they conduct themselves better ­ at least during the checkpoint hours.

If checkpoints and saturation enforcement are changing driver behavior, they are accomplishing their goal.

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