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Watch Out For DUI Checkpoints Over Holidays

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose DUI defense attorney, drunk driving, DUI checkpoints, California DUI checkpoint, field sobriety testWhenever a holiday arises, make sure that if you choose to imbibe you do so responsibly and that you do not drink and drive. As there is usually a spike in drunk driving over holiday weekends, you can bet that law enforcement officers in California will be out in full force during these days and will likely set up driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoints on roads that have experienced a disproportionately high number of drunk drivers in the past.

What is a DUI Checkpoint?

A DUI checkpoint (also sometimes referred to as a “DUI roadblock” or a “sobriety checkpoint”) is a traffic stop set up by law enforcement officials that is meant to catch drunk drivers and to deter other drivers from driving drunk in the future. DUI checkpoints are not permitted in all states but they are allowed in California as long as certain requirements are met. For example, DUI checkpoints in California must:

  • Be reasonably located;
  • Take adequate safety precautions;
  • Have neutral criteria for determining which vehicles are stopped;
  • Not detain drivers more than a minimal amount of time; and
  • Be publicly advertised in advance. 

Are DUI Checkpoints Constitutional?

The Fourth Amendment to the American Constitution requires law enforcement officers to have probable cause before pulling a driver over. In other words, a traffic stop is generally only deemed to be constitutional if the officer conducting the stop had a reasonable basis for believing that a crime had been committed.

However, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that drivers can legally be stopped at DUI checkpoints without probable cause because the amount of inconvenience that these stops inflict on drivers is outweighed by the importance of curbing drunk driving.

Your Rights When Stopped at a DUI Checkpoint 

If you are stopped at a California DUI checkpoint, then it is important that you know what you can and cannot legally do. In other words, it is important to know your rights. For example, did you know that you are within your legal rights not to answer a police officer’s questions when stopped at a DUI checkpoint?

You also have the right to deny consent to search your vehicle. However, please be aware that the police may search your vehicle above your objections if they have probable cause and a warrant to do so. Furthermore, if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint in California and are asked to perform a field sobriety test know that you have the right to refuse, unless you are placed under arrest under suspicion of driving under the influence. 

Let Us Help You with Your Case 

Whether you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint or after having been pulled over it is important that you consult with an experienced San Jose DUI defense attorney about your legal options and how best to protect your rights. Here at the Jachimowicz Law Group, our team of experienced DUI defense lawyers aggressively defend clients throughout Silicon Valley and Northern California and would be happy to assist you. To find out what our criminal defense firm can do for you, schedule a free consultation today.

Source:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/probable_cause

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