Holiday parties, gatherings, drinks, and DUI checkpoints!

Obviously the best way to avoid being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is to not Drink and Drive. However, if you are driving during the Holiday season and want to know where the DUI checkpoints are there are many online resources like the one previously linked.

The holidays are upon us and that means more drinking and driving, and more driving under the influence checkpoints. When there are DUI check points, there may also be Fourth Amendment issues. The fourth amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The United States Supreme Court held that a properly devised drunk driving checkpoint program does not violate the fourth Amendment. The California Supreme Court has also stated that these checkpoints are valid under the California Constitutions. However, DUI checkpoints have to meet certain requirements under the Unites States Constitution and the California Constitution to be upheld.

In California there are guidelines to determine whether or not a DUI checkpoint is Constitutional. If you have been arrested after going through a DUI checkpoint, you should contact a DUI defense attorney right away, as we will critically examine how the checkpoint was set up and if it meets the standards under the law.

In Ingersoll v. Palmer. This case laid out regulations that must be followed.

1) Supervising Officers must be running the DUI checkpoint.

2) The stops must be pre-determined and must be in a neutral unbiased manner

3) The check point must be reasonably located

4) There must be Safety precautions, giving vehicles notice and enough time to stop

5) Reasonable time and duration to have the check point

6) The check point must be clearly marked and visibly show its official nature.

7) Drivers must be detained for a minimal amount of time

8) Checkpoints should be advertised in advance.

If you happen to find yourself out and about these Holidays nights, you may run into a check point. You will notice that law enforcement will section off a portion of the road, which will cause vehicles to merge into one or two lanes. If you get stopped, the officer will ask you to roll down your window and typically ask you for your license and registration. Typically, the officer will attempt to have “small talk” with you or engage in some form of conversation. The officer may ask questions about where you are coming from and where you are headed. The officer is trying to have a small conversation to evaluate your behavior and whether or not you are intoxicated. The officer is paying attention to see if your speech is slurred, your eyes are red and watery, if you smell like alcohol, or any other signs of impairment.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been arrested for DUI after going through a DUI checkpoint, this does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of a DUI offense. Call us for help!