It's almost summertime, and the living won't be so easy if you get a DUI.
The meteorological first day of summer is Sunday, the longest day of the year. It'll be even longer if you have to stumble out of a Los Angeles Police Department jail following a regrettable night of drinking.
The department is rolling out a number of checkpoints in an attempt to nab those of you who get behind the wheel after drinking one too may. But the checkpoints also have another purpose: to serve as reminders that police are hunting for drunk drivers.
The LAPD says that the publicity it gets from informing the public about its DUI operations saves lives by dissuading many from driving while intoxicated.
Here's your 411:
-Tonight from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. a checkpoint will be running on Victory Boulevard at Saint Clair Avenue in North Hollywood.
-Tonight from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department plans to run a checkpoint at an undisclosed location in the city of Lancaster.
-Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight an LAPD checkpoint will be expecting you on Huntington Drive at Poplar Boulevard in El Sereno.
-Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight a DUI checkpoint will be in effect on Manchester Avenue at Hoover Street in South Los Angeles.
-Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. a checkpoint will be happening on Laurel Canyon Boulevard at Osborne Street in Pacoima.
-Sunday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. extra LAPD motorcycles and patrol cars will hit the streets of the department's Foothill Division area, which includes Lake View Terrace, Pacoima, Shadow Hills, Sun Valley, Sunland, Tujunga and more.
It's interesting to note here (once again) that all the LAPD operations are in heavily minority communities. Although minorities are the majority in Los Angeles, you very rarely see these operations on the far Westside, in Hancock Park or in the West Valley.
According to the Auto Club of Southern California, getting a DUI costs about $16,000, not to mention possible job loss and wear and tear on family relations. That cost is heavy in communities where income is much lower.
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The per-capita individual income in L.A. is a measly $27,749, which isn't even enough to rent a median-priced one-bedroom apartment in this market. So a DUI would consume more than half of a year's income for an average Angeleno. It could make you homeless.
Not that people should drink and drive. But enforcement should be fair. Although cops don't want to hear it, you do pay their salaries. They are public servants, just like sanitation workers and City Council members. They exist for you.
By the way, Lancaster is, like your author, about half white. And props to the Sheriff's Department for constantly targeting Malibu with DUI operations. The LAPD should take note. The law applies to everyone, not just easy targets.