California DUI Sobriety Checkpoints
Sobriety checkpoints and stops by police officers are allowable by law providing that the checkpoints and stops are done in alignment with strict guidelines.
DUI checkpoints are an exception due to the fact they don't arbitrarily target individual drivers.
They are considered to be an administrative inspection that is similar to searching your bags at an airport.
The primary motivation is public safety and to deter drunk driving. DUI checkpoints are legal, but law enforcement must carefully follow the rules to protect your legal rights.
The rules were put in place by an important ruling by the California Supreme Court in the case known as Ingersoll v. Palmer.
In this case, certain guidelines were established for California DUI checkpoints::
- Public must be given notice of the checkpoint
- There must be a turnout prior to the checkpoint so that people who do not want to proceed through it have the option to turn around. These people cannot be pulled over based solely on their decision to not proceed through the checkpoint
- There must be a random, impartial formula for stopping cars (such as every 4th or 5th car)
- Safety conditions must be monitored at the checkpoint
- The length and nature of the detention must not be obtrusive to the public
- The location must be reasonable, as well as the time and day they are conducted
In order for an officer to pull you over for DUI, there must be “reasonable suspicion” that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol requires it.
That “reasonable suspicion” would be in the form or erratic driving, speeding or some other violation.
Do you have to stop at a DUI check point in Los Angeles?
The short answer is Yes. If you drive up to a Los Angeles DUI checkpoint, you are legally required to stop and comply with police.
This is an exception to the rule that police can't pull someone over with no reason. California DUI checkpoints are not considered a violation of your constitutional rights.
You should know that the above points regarding checkpoints and being pulled over by an officer are the first points that an experienced lawyer will question and investigate regarding your DUI arrest.
A thorough investigation will reveal where there might be violations of the regulations in how the sobriety checkpoints were done or whether you were in fact pulled over and stopped illegally.
These violations can be utilized in your defense of the charges and in some instances the charges may be dropped altogether.
Do You Have To Submit to Alcohol Tests at a DUI Checkpoint?
In most cases, police will utilize certain tests to determine if you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you haven't been arrested, you don't have to submit to these tests. However, if you have been arrested for DUI, you will be required to submit to the test. Refusal is crime by itself.
The test police use include field sobriety tests, that involve walking a line or reciting the alphabet. These are done prior to arrest and it's your decision whether to comply, but refusal will normally lead to arrest.
A “preliminary alcohol screening” (PAS) is a small portable breath test, similar to a breathalyzer. Police will request that you blow into the device prior to arrest. You can refuse, but you will probably be arrested and the refusal will be used against you by the prosecutor.
Blood and breath test will be requested by police after you are arrested for driving under the influence. This is normally completed at the police station. Your are legally required to comply or face additional charges.
What makes our law firm valuable to you is our knowledge of the laws and procedures required per the laws of our state. We will aggressively investigate any potential violations regarding your DUI arrest and uncompromisingly provide you with the best defense possible.
If you have been arrested for DUI, contact Cron, Israels & Stark and have your case assessed for the best defense possible.