Apple and Google have agreed to review applications alerting drivers to DUI checkpoints to consider whether they facilitate illegal activity. The concession follows a grilling from Senator Charles E Schumer of New York, who believes such apps are an active aid to drunk drivers. “Apple and Google shouldn’t be in the business of selling apps that help drunk drivers evade the police, and they shouldn’t be selling apps that they themselves admit are ‘terrible’, he says. Research in Motion (RIM), pulled similar Blackberry apps after pressure from Schumer and other senators. Google and Apple have refused to follow suit, claiming that the applications don’t violate their terms of service – which prohibit apps facilitating illegal activity. At a Senate hearing, Apple vice president of software technology pointed out that much of the data provided by such apps was already being published by police departments.
In California publicity of a DUI checkpoint is required. “Advance publicity is important to the maintenance of a constitutionally permissible sobriety checkpoint. Publicity both reduces the intrusiveness of the stop and increases the deterrent effect of the roadblock, Ingersoll v. Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321.
In People v. Banks (1993) 6 Cal.4th 926 the California court noted, “Advance publicity is important to the maintenance of a constitutionally permissible sobriety checkpoint. Publicity [without disclosure of the precise location of the checkpoint] both reduces the intrusiveness of the stop and increases the deterrent effect of the roadblock.”The concurring opinion in State ex rel. Ekstrom v. Justice Ct. of State  [136 Ariz. 1] 663 P.2d 992, at page 1001 explained the value of advance publicity: ‘Such publicity would warn those using the highways that they might expect to find roadblocks designed to check for sobriety; the warning may well decrease the chance of apprehending “ordinary” criminals, but should certainly have a considerable deterring effect by either dissuading people from taking “one more for the road,” persuading them to drink at home, or inducing them to take taxicabs. Any one of these goals, if achieved, would have the salutary effect of interfering with the lethal combination of alcohol and gasoline. Advance notice would limit intrusion upon personal dignity and security because those being stopped would anticipate and understand what was happening.’
Checkpoints are on the rise nationwide. Is not the goal to reduce drunk drivers through education, and does not the Apple and Google apps provide that education and possible deterrence as pointed out by the Arizona court persuading them (drunk drivers) to drink at home, or inducing them to take taxicabs. What do you think?
If you face a Santa Barbara DUI charge from a checkpoint stop, contact Kenneth M. Hallum, know your rights, options, and defenses.