In California DUI checkpoints are becoming more common as the state cracks down on drunk driving. If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint and found to be driving impaired you will generally be charged with Vehicle Code 23152a VC driving under the influence and Vehicle Code 23152b driving with BAC .08 or greater. There are rules that govern DUI checkpoint procedures that must be followed in order to be constitutionally recognized.
A DUI checkpoint may also be referred to as:
- DUI / Driver’s license checkpoint
- Sobriety checkpoint
- Drunk driving sobriety checkpoint
- DUI roadblock
DUI Checkpoint Procedures: Rules and Regulations
If the DUI checkpoint procedures do not meet the mandatory legal requirements a DUI Defense Attorney may be able to have your DUI charges reduced or even dismissed. The rules associated with DUI checkpoint procedures include:
- Supervising officers must be in charge
- The sobriety checkpoint must be reasonably located
- DUI roadblocks must be publically advertised
As part of DUI checkpoint procedures, supervising officers will determine where, how, and when sobriety checkpoints will operate. This is usually determined based on the areas that have the highest occurrence of DUI-related accidents and arrests. Supervising officers are also in charge of establishing the criteria for how cars will be stopped, for example, they may decide to stop every car, every few cars, and so on.
Sobriety Checkpoint Location
A DUI checkpoint must be reasonably located which means it should be located in an area where a high occurrence of DUI-related accidents or arrests takes place. Supervising officers must also consider the safety of everyone when choosing where to setup a sobriety checkpoint.
Many people may not be aware of the fact that DUI roadblocks must be publically advertised prior to the date of the roadblock and must be clearly visible to approaching drivers, according to DUI checkpoint procedures. Typically a DUI roadblock is advertised on law enforcement websites, local newspapers, and news stations prior to its operation. Visibility of the DUI roadblock may include:
- Warning signs
- Flashing lights
- Adequate lighting
- Marked police cars
- Uniformed police officers
You must be allowed the opportunity to drive away from the checkpoint if you do not wish to stop. If you choose to drive away from the checkpoint you cannot legally be stopped unless you commit a traffic violation or show signs of obvious intoxication.
If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint it may be possible to fight the charges successfully. A DUI defense lawyer may be able to challenge the validity of the checkpoint itself; if this challenge is successful the case is typically dismissed.
If you have additional questions regarding how California DUI laws relate to sobriety checkpoints or would like to discuss your case with a Fresno DUI Attorney, please contact The Law Office of Gregory W. Fox today at (559) 222-5800. In most instances an appointment can be scheduled for the same day.