DUI Defense – Challenging California DUI Checkpoints

Have you been charged with a DUI in California? DUI checkpoints are now the norm, and often allow for police officers to sidestep probable cause. In Northern California, DUI checkpoints have resulted in the questionable arrests of many innocent people. While BAC readings and field sobriety tests are lawful under California law during a routine traffic stop (when there is suspicion of a DUI), the validity and legality of DUI checkpoints are under debate.

Many claim that a traditional DUI stop is, in many ways, a more fair way to prevent driving while under the influence than a scattershot check of every driver who happens to be travelling down a particular road. However, in Ingersoll v. Palmer, 43 Cal. 3d 1321 (1985) checkpoints were upheld by the supreme court of California. DUI checkpoints, they ruled, can result in an invasion of privacy, but are constitutional when executed properly.

In the state of California, most DUI checkpoints are published in some form or another. This alert allows individuals to avoid the hassle, and anxiety, of riding through checkpoints. Most people agree that this is one way in which driving under the influence can be curtailed in a more legal and more fair manner.

However, in California, DUI checkpoints have become systematic and begun encroaching on civil liberties. In these cases, an individual will be pulled over on a pretext stop – and the illegality begins there. The moment an officer asks an individual to roll down their window and answer a few questions, they may claim they smell alcohol, and their requirement for probable cause has been established. Oftentimes, officers will use the stop to take advantage of citizens and to illegally search their vehicles.

If you feel your rights have been violated in one of the many Northern Califonria DUI checkpoints, don’t hesitate to contact Summit Defense Criminal Attorneys.