The California Highway Patrol (“CHP”) is California’s largest law enforcement agency. For a DUI lawyer, they are the most common “adversary” (a silly choice of words, but true to a certain extent) and are responsible for the majority of DUI arrests and prosecutions in the state of California. Unlike many other states, the state of California does not have a “State Police” or a “State Bureau of Investigation,” it has the Highway Patrol. On top of general traffic enforcement duties, the CHP handles security for the governor and high level state officials, regulating commercial trucking, investigating serious fatal accidents on California’s roadways and of course, their single biggest task: DUI enforcement.
What does the California Highway Patrol do to enforce California’s DUI laws?
Saturation Patrols: “Looking for Trouble”
The CHP’s primary DUI enforcement modality is through saturation patrols, where officers are sent on patrol to look for signs of impaired driving. You probably notice a big increase in the numbers of CHP cars on public roads during holidays. You are in fact seeing saturation patrols as they canvas the roads looking for impaired drivers.
DUI Checkpoints: “Stop, in the name of law”
DUI checkpoints are the second most commonly carried out DUI enforcement operation by the CHP. The state of California has more DUI checkpoints set up throughout the year than any other state in the U.S.
Officer Training and Equipment: “High Tech DUI Enforcement.”
The CHP has a huge budget for training and equipment to allow its officers to conduct DUI investigations. This training can lead to better enforcement, more accurate assessments of a person’s condition in the field and ultimately safer roads as real drunk drivers are taken off of California’s roads.