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Police in California City Consider Listing DUI Suspects on Facebook Page

By Jim Greene

Published on December 03, 2010

At the request of a city councilmember, the police department in a Southern California city is considering listing those arrested for drunken driving on its Facebook page. The request was made after the local newspaper stopped listing the suspects.

Police Lt. Russell Reinhart said his department is looking into the request by Councilman Devin Dwyer after the Huntington Beach Independent discontinued the listings. The Orange County paper is published by the Los Angeles Times.

“I didn’t think public shaming for driving under the influence was such a bad idea,” Dwyer said. “I would use any tool necessary to bring down the numbers of drunk drivers.”

DUI Arrest Records Are Public Information

Although Dwyer’s statement ignores the presumption of innocence, the arrests are a matter of public record.

“It’s public information,” said Reinhart. “Anybody could go to the [police department] counter, get it and put it on their own Web page.” He said City Atty. Jennifer McGrath will review the Facebook proposal to be sure there are no legal barriers.

The city is also planning to list the names of DUI suspects on its Web site. Other planned measures in an aggressive campaign against drunken driving include assigning more officers to DUI details and sending letters to bars patronized by DUI suspects. As in many states, serving alcohol to a person already intoxicated is illegal in California.

City Attempts to Reduce Heavy Drinking at Bars

Earlier this year, the city took measures to end drinking games and other activities that promote heavy drinking at area bars.

Huntington Beach recorded 271 alcohol-related vehicle crashes and 1,687 DUI arrests last year. A report by the city said the statistics indicate “a significant DUI problem.”

If you’re arrested for drunken driving, contact an experienced DUI attorney. Never forget that you are innocent until proven guilty. Mistakes are made in the arrest and testing of DUI suspects; your attorney will fight to make sure that due process is followed. If you are convicted, your attorney will ensure that you take full advantage of your rights under the law and that your punishment is just.

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