Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2018
DUI checkpoints are common in areas with high numbers of drunk driving incidents and on days of the year when people drink a lot alcohol, such as New Year’s Eve. At these checkpoints, police officers ask drivers questions about their night and perform field sobriety tests if they believe a driver is impaired. However, drivers and officers alike are subject to regulations regarding these checkpoints, and drivers have a certain set of rights that officers must honor.
DUI checkpoints are legal in California, because they have proven effective at reducing the number of drunk driving incidents in areas where they regularly occur. However, these checkpoints must abide by regulations to stay in good legal standing with the Supreme Court and California Constitution.
Under the United States Constitution, police officers must have probable cause for a traffic stop. Logically, this would mean that these checkpoints are unconstitutional. However, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the dangers of drunk driving outweigh the potential invasion of privacy that these checkpoints pose to the American public.
However, the Supreme Court and the California Constitution designed the guidelines and requirements to limit invasive checkpoints and abuse of power. For example, the provision for advertisement of the checkpoint warns the public ahead of time so that they can avoid driving under the influence or, at the very least, avoid the area.
Just like all police searches and seizures, you have a set of rights that officers must uphold.
However, under California Vehicle Code 2814.2(a), all drivers must stop and comply with DUI checkpoints. Failure to do so can result in an infraction. While you have the right to turn around during these stops, you cannot pass through without inspection.
In addition, you have the right to a criminal defense attorney after receiving a DUI charge at a checkpoint. A law firm can help you determine if police violated any of your rights at a checkpoint and discuss options for legal strategy.