More and more police agencies in southern California and across the country are employing DUI checkpoints in the “crackdown” on drunk driving. What are DWI checkpoints, and what should drivers in southern California know when encountering them?

DWI checkpoints (also widely known as “roadside safety checks” or “sobriety checkpoints”) are the spots where police officers stop and question motorists at random to determine if the drivers are drunk or under the influence of drugs. Checkpoints are usually police roadblocks set up on busy streets or at busy intersections. In some areas, police agencies publicize the dates and times when checkpoints will be conducted in an effort to pre-empt drunk driving. If you’re stopped at a checkpoint, be cooperative and polite. If you’re asked questions, keep your answers short and precise. If you do that, and if you’ve had nothing to drink, you’ll probably be fine except for losing a few minutes of your time.

If you thought that the police must have “probable cause” to stop you, you should know that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints are a “minimum intrusion” on your constitutional rights, and that intrusion is “outweighed” by what the Court considers the state’s obligation to prevent drunk driving. Nevertheless, twelve states do not conduct DWI checkpoints. In California, however, checkpoints are becoming routine.

Of course, any time you plan on driving, avoiding alcohol entirely is the best strategy. However, if you’re stopped, arrested, and charged with DWI in southern California, whether or not it’s at a DWI checkpoint, get help right away from an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney. A good DUI defense lawyer will assess your situation and provide the aggressive, effective legal defense that’s right for you. If you face the charge – now or in the future – make the call right away to an experienced Orange County DWI defense attorney.