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Slight Sonoma County and Mendocino County DUI Arrests Increase


Although new statistics recently released by the California Highway Patrol show that there is a slight Sonoma County and Mendocino County DUI arrests increase for 2012, the numbers are largely similar to those from 2011. Even so, both years represent a marked decline over the years of 2009 and 2010. Significant declines existed in each of Sonoma County, Lake County and Mendocino County DUI Arrests, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

According to the latest information, the CHP in Sonoma County made 1,311 DUI arrests last year. While that number is 4 percent increase over 2011, when the CHP made 1,261 arrests, it is still a notable decline over the period of 2009-10. CHP reported 1,403 DUI arrests in Sonoma County in 2010, and 1,537 the year before.

Mendocino County DUI arrests witnessed a slight increase, at around 3 percent, climbing from 316 to 325. Each year, though, represented a massive decline from 2010, when CHP made 453 DUI arrests in the county. In Lake County, the trend of large declines from 2010 to 2011 continued into 2012. CHP logged 369 DUI arrests there in 2010, 294 in 2011, and only 232 in 2012.

CHP Officer Jon Sloat told the Press Democrat last March that the 2010-to-2011 decline in DUI arrests was a statewide trend. Sloat credited the decline to enhanced enforcement through DUI checkpoints and greater public education with regard to the dangers of driving while impaired.

DUI crash numbers in Sonoma County were almost flat from 2011 to 2012. CHP recorded 253 crashes attributed to impaired drivers, a small increase from 2011, when 244 such crashes occurred. Mendocino County saw 91 DUI crashes last year, which comprised roughly 12 percent of all crashes there. Lake County registered a similar total number of DUI crashes, 93, as Mendocino, but those represent a notably higher percentage, comprising 17 percent of all 2012 Lake County crashes.

A piece of very good news centered on the continued low numbers of fatalities from DUI crashes in Sonoma County. The County saw only one death blamed on an impaired driver in 2012, down from two in 2011. These years represent a dramatic decline over the preceding period. In 2010, the county had 11 such fatalities, and nine in 2009. Additionally, DUI-related fatalities comprise a smaller percentage of all highway deaths in Sonoma County than in years past, at 12 percent in 2012, opposed to 42 percent in 2010 and 41 percent in 2009.

CHP records show Mendocino County had three DUI-related fatalities last year (out of 11 total crash fatalities,) while Lake County recorded seven such deaths, which was nearly half of the county’s 16 crash fatalities.

State and local authorities deserve to be commended for their enforcement and education efforts toward curbing impaired driving. Even the best enforcement protocols have imperfections, though, and every person accused of DUI is entitled to a process that does not sacrifice individual rights, even in the interest of public safety. If you have been accused of a DUI, contact an experienced Santa Rosa DUI attorney. Our diligent Santa Rosa DUI attorneys have years of defending DUI cases throughout Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties, are acutely familiar with the law and the courts, and can help you decide how to proceed with your case.

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