Lodi Police stepping up alcohol enforcement

Nov. 30—As the holiday season kicks-off this week, the Lodi Police Department will be stepping up its effort to keep impaired drivers off the road.

The department will conduct a a DUI checkpoint Dec. 4 at an undisclosed location, beginning at 7 p.m. and ending at 3 a.m. on Dec. 5.

“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Sergeant Daniel Bristow said in a media statement Monday morning.

“We are looking for impaired drivers because driving under the influence is dangerous and puts others on the road at risk,” he said.

Checkpoint locations are chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests.

The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired, police said. Impaired driving is not just caused by alcohol consumption. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with your ability to drive. Police recommend that residents always follow their prescription directions for use and read warning labels about driving or “operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving motor vehicles.

While both medicinal and recreational marijuana are now legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home, police said.

Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The DUI checkpoint comes after police and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control conducted a Minor Decoy Operation on Nov. 20. Designed to deter alcohol sales to minors and educate local retailers, decoys attempted to purchase alcohol at 21 licensed businesses — including stores, restaurants and bars — throughout the city.

Police said the operation was a success, as none of the 21 licensed businesses visited sold or provided alcohol to the decoys. If the businesses had sold alcohol to a decoy, they would have faced a minimum fine of $250, and a possible 24-32 hours of community service for a first violation.

In addition, ABC would have taken administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business, which could include a fine, a suspended or permanently revoked license, police said.

Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980s. Police said that when the program first began, the rate that retailers were selling alcohol to minors was as high as 50%.

When operations are conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped to as low as 10% in some cities, police said.

In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that licensees are complying with the law.

This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's Alcohol Policing Partnership.

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