The Fairfield DUI attorneys at The Maher Law Group, APC would like to provide you with some advice and tips about DUI checkpoints, the law, and your rights. Make sure you know what you can and can’t do – and what the police can and can’t do – before you find yourself face-to-face with an officer who is just waiting to make a DUI arrest.
Never Try to Get Out of a DUI Checkpoint
If you know ahead of time that there’s a sobriety checkpoint on a certain road, it is perfectly acceptable – and often advisable – to take a different route. What you should never do, however, is try to exit a checkpoint when you unsuspectingly find yourself in one.
Once you’ve already come to a checkpoint, the police are watching you. It looks suspicious if they see you pull out of the line and try to drive away, like you are scared of getting arrested for DUI because you’ve been drinking. In these cases, it is very likely that an officer will follow you and pull you over anyway. Whether or not you have had anything to drink, never try to evade a DUI checkpoint once you are already in one.
What Are the Police Required to Do in a DUI Checkpoint?
DUI sobriety checkpoints cannot be conducted at random. Law enforcement must follow specific rules and regulations when it comes to conducting a checkpoint.
These rules include:
- Publicly advertising the roadblock in advance
- Conducting the checkpoint at a reasonable location
- Taking adequate safety precautions
- Making it clear that it is an official checkpoint
- Using “good judgment” regarding the time and duration of the checkpoint
- Using a neutral system to choose which motorists to stop
- Detaining motorists for a minimal amount of time
- All operation decisions must be made by supervising officers
The interpretation of these rules and regulations can get tricky. That is why you should not hesitate to hire a knowledgeable and experienced DUI lawyer in Fairfield if you believe that any of the rules listed above were overlooked, resulting in a wrongful DUI stop or arrest.
What Can’t the Police Do in a DUI Checkpoint?
You have rights during a DUI stop. Do you know what they are and how to protect them?
- Officers cannot choose to stop any one car at random. Vehicles must be chosen based on a neutral system (e.g. every third car, every single car, etc.). Did the officer who stopped you do so out of discrimination based on your appearance, ethnicity, age, gender, or the type of car you were driving? If so, then you may have grounds to fight your DUI charges.
- Officers also cannot search your vehicle simply because you are going through a sobriety checkpoint. They must first have “probable cause.” Many times, officers conduct a search because they claim they “could smell marijuana” or because they “saw a suspicious package in the back seat” and other such excuses. If you think that an officer made up an excuse just so they could search your vehicle, then speak with a Solano County DUI attorney immediately.
How to Find DUI Checkpoints in Your Neighborhood
As mentioned earlier, all DUI sobriety checkpoints must be publically announced before they happen. There are a number of websites and apps you can use to find out where DUI checkpoints are going to be held near you.
GPS and traffic apps like Waze often warn you if you are approaching a DUI checkpoint. There are also smartphone apps like Mr. Checkpoint that provide official checkpoint information to help deter drunk driving. These apps are not 100% reliable, so do not depend on them – but they can be helpful.
As for websites, here are some of the most reliable sources of DUI checkpoint information:
You can even follow Mr. Checkpoint on Twitter (@mrcheckpoint) for live updates about checkpoints as information becomes available.
Arrested for DUI? (888) 744-3057 for a Free Consultation with a Solano County DUI attorney Who Will Protect Your Rights.