Twenty one police agencies will conduct a county wide DUI check point on Labor Day. DUI checkpoints have been a police tool in California since 1984 and require adherence to strict guidelines set forth in the case of Ingresoil v. Palmer.
The court in fact set out specific rules as to the legality of DUI checkpoints (CA Vehicle Code 23152). These include:
1. The decision to have a check point must be made by supervisors. Officers can’t simply decide to conduct a check point. That would violate the fourth amendment.
2. Officers in the field can’t decide which individuals to detain. That is, they must use a neutral formula previously set by supervisor.
3. The ultimate consideration is public and officer safety
4. The site of the check point must correlate to a to high drunk driving incident and must be chosen by supervisors
5. The check point must be limited in duration keeping in mind the effectiveness of the check point and the intrusiveness to the public
6. Each check point must be visible
7. Detention length can’t be unreasonably long
8. Check points require advanced publicity.
If you should happen by a check point, you are allowed to leave the scene. While officers are not allowed to detain you for simply leaving the scene, they can detain you for any traffic infraction while doing so. If you are “randomly” selected, the officer still must have probable cause to initiate a DUI investigation. A strong odor of alcohol on your breath is the most common way by which officers claim the required probable cause to further investigate.
Remember, you are under no obligation to submit to any field sobriety tests. You are under no obligation to submit to a chemical test UNLESS you are under arrest.
Have a safe Labor Day weekend!