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Courthouse sting busts suspended drivers

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The police weren’t kidding on April 1 when they impounded three vehicles and cited their owners for driving with licenses that had been suspended for only a few minutes. Four plainclothes officers spent the day tailing about 20 people as they left court hearings that revoked their driving privileges. Guy Morillo, Martin Cisneros, and Brandon Wright all walked to their vehicles and attempted to drive home, but the undercover cops alerted patrol cars that pulled the men over and issued citations

“I was in court for a DUI,” said Wright through email correspondence with New Times, “but I didn’t know what to expect. I never received anything in the mail saying my license would be revoked or any paper work with my DUI ticket saying anything about driving restrictions.”

Wright said the judge had him sign a form stating he understood he faced 10 days in jail if he got caught driving with the suspended license. Still, he had to get his car home so he risked it. The resulting impound fees total $1,717 and the jail time might cost him his job.

“We’re using our resources to catch people making poor decisions and failing to plan ahead,” said Sergeant Jeff Booth of the SLO Police Department.

The funds for the operation came from the Office of Traffic Safety’s Avoid the 14 Grant, money that helps cops patrol incidents of drunk driving. Any departments that receive the grant are required to do such courthouse stings and to set up DUI checkpoints throughout the year.

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