DUI SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS

Sobriety Checkpoint

After having even a single drink, the sight of flashing lights and a crowd of police officers is enough to make anyone panic. Whether or not you think your blood alcohol level is beyond the legal limit, California DUI sobriety checkpoints are a stop that most drivers would prefer to avoid.

There is growing pressure on police to crack down on drunk driving incidents. At the same time, people are demanding more punishment for those who choose to drink and drive. Because of these factors, sobriety checkpoints are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

 

Although many drivers may think otherwise, DUI checkpoints are NOT illegal as long as they are operated within state and federal guidelines. While most of these rules are relatively easy to understand, being able to follow them correctly is where law enforcement agencies sometimes come up short.

This can be a tricky area of law for those who are unfamiliar with how sobriety checkpoints operate. However, contesting a DUI arrest from one of these roadside events is possible, as long as you have the help of a good DUI attorney on your side.

 

The Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka has been assisting DUI victims in Northern California for over 15 years. We have an excellent understanding of how sobriety checkpoints operate and can quickly identify what kinds of DUI arrests may not hold up in court.

If you or someone you know has recently been charged with a DUI offense, contact our offices today at 916-706-0678 to discuss the specifics of your case. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and our team of DUI experts are ready to answer any questions that you might have.

FIELD SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS

The basic idea of a sobriety checkpoint is to keep unsafe drivers off the road and protect the lives and property of others. Although the costs of running these events (and their effectiveness at reducing drunk driving) is still up for debate, field sobriety checkpoints are one of the many tools law enforcement uses to make DUI arrests.

Although each police department may differ somewhat in how they manage a sobriety checkpoint, most have a fairly similar process.

  • A section of road will be blocked-off for conducting the event
  • Lights, signs or cones will be used to force drivers into one lane and eventually come to a complete stop
  • A police officer will tell you to roll down your window and ask that you provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration

Although your license and paperwork will be checked for accuracy, there is another reason for these questions. During this time law enforcement will be watching you and looking for any hints of intoxication (red eyes or face, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, etc.). Police will also visually scan your vehicle for any signs of evidence (open containers, drugs or other paraphernalia).

 

If anything is seen or found that does not look normal, a DUI investigation may begin. Failing to pass field sobriety tests (or breathalyzer exams) usually means you will be charged with a DUI offense.

 

Many people assume the worst if they have been arrested at a DUI sobriety checkpoint, but it is possible to reduce or eliminate the charges you may be facing. However, you will need to seek the help of a qualified DUI lawyer to know for sure.

 

If you have been arrested for DUI offenses in the greater Sacramento area, call the the Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka at 916-706-0678 to protect your rights and learn how we can help. It is important to start this process quickly as it allows your DUI attorney to build a strong defense and keep the prosecution from calling all the shots.

 

Don’t wait! Your right to drive is too important to leave to chance.

SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT RULES

DUI checkpoints are unique in that they are one of the only times police can start an investigation without having probable cause to back it up. The legality of these searches has been contested for years in both the state and U.S. Supreme Court. However, it has been ruled that such searches are constitutional as long as they are performed according to strict guidelines.

  • Sobriety checkpoints must be reasonably located - There is no reason to check in areas with very few DUI cases or drunk driving incidents.
  • Checkpoint scheduling should reflect “good judgment” - Making drivers stop on a Friday afternoon during rush hour would be a poor choice.
  • ​Events must be operated safely - Police have to minimize risk to other drivers or pedestrians.
  • ​People need to know what is happening - There must be multiple indicators (lights, signs, uniformed officers, etc.) to show that a sobriety checkpoint is in progress.
  • ​Drivers must be chosen at random - The rules for who gets checked (every 4th car, five out of ten, etc.) must be created ahead of time and followed precisely during the event. Doing so helps to prevent bias on the part of the officers involved.
  • ​The stop should be fast - Officers are allowed to ask a few quick questions, make their assessment, but must allow sober drivers to move on.
  • ​Supervisors control all major decisions - Police in the field are not allowed to decide when, where, or how someone will be stopped. A driver should never feel like they are being “singled out.”
  • Sobriety checkpoints must be public knowledge - Any planned event should be advertised well in advance using local television, newspapers, and websites. The idea is that potential drunk drivers will think twice, and law-abiding citizens will not be caught off-guard.

With so many rules to follow, it is easy to see how a sobriety checkpoint could go wrong and become a potential liability. Skilled DUI lawyers know how to spot mistakes in these types of situations and can use these errors to mount a strong defense for their clients.

SACRAMENTO DUI ATTORNEY

If you have recently been subjected to a DUI sobriety checkpoint and feel that your rights may have been violated, contact the DUI Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka at 916-706-0678. You will be provided a complimentary consultation with one of our proven DUI attorneys to explore what options you have available.

Remember, just because you were accused of a DUI offense does not mean you have to be convicted of one. Don’t let someone else decide your future without putting up a fight. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.