If you are arrested for driving under the influence at a DUI “checkpoint” in southern California, retain legal help at once by contacting an experienced California DWI defense attorney in Orange County. DUI checkpoints – or “sobriety” checkpoints – represent an exception to the law, but it’s an exception that the U.S. Supreme Court has approved. Under normal circumstances, law enforcement officers may not stop you while you’re driving unless they witness a crime or have probable cause to believe that you are committing a crime. So how can DUI checkpoints be legal?
The checkpoints are essentially roadblocks where law enforcement officers stop and question drivers to determine if they are drunk or otherwise impaired. Drivers passing through the checkpoint are randomly screened, and they may be requested to submit a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety exam. Police agencies like to operate DWI checkpoints on weekends and other celebratory times like Halloween, Independence Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Courts in twelve states – but not California – prohibit police agencies from setting up sobriety checkpoints, but the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that DWI checkpoints are legal. In the court’s estimation, DUI checkpoints do not constitute “unreasonable” search and seizure and thus do not violate a driver’s constitutional rights. The justices have stated that a checkpoint’s imposition on innocent drivers is negligible compared to the state’s responsibility to protect the public. Still, a DUI checkpoint must be established and conducted legally. That means the police must publicize in advance the times and locations of checkpoints, and signs must be posted telling drivers when they are approaching a checkpoint.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, speak at once with an experienced California DWI defense attorney in Orange County. A good DWI defense lawyer can fight aggressively for justice on your behalf by gathering evidence, lining up witnesses, and working to dispute the state’s case against you. Don’t wait. If you are charged with DUI in Orange County, at a sobriety checkpoint or any other location, contact an experienced Orange County DWI defense attorney as quickly as possible.