Were you or a loved one arrested for a DUI in San Diego, CA? DUI checkpoints in San Diego often lead to arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. If you were arrested, an experienced DUI defense lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help you challenge the arrest and minimize the consequences.
How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help if You Were Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint in San Diego
A DUI checkpoint is a roadblock somewhere in the city where law enforcement will evaluate drivers to determine whether they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. At the license checkpoint, police will have drivers merge into one area. They’ll ask you for your drivers’ license and registration. They’ll also engage in a conversation to evaluate your sobriety.
If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, contact the best criminal defense lawyer in San Diego, CA, we can help by:
- Determining whether the checkpoint was legal
- Building a strong defense to your DUI charge
- Helping you understand all legal rights
- Negotiating behind the scenes to reduce the consequences of the arrest
DUI checkpoints are often frightening. Our San Diego criminal defense attorneys have over ten years of experience helping clients fight DUI charges in Southern California. We have the tools to help you beat the charges or have your case dismissed if possible.
To learn more, call our law firm for a free initial consultation today.
Are San Diego DUI Checkpoints Legal?
The short answer is yes. Under California Vehicle Code Section 2814.2, all drivers must stop and submit to a sobriety checkpoint inspection conducted by the San Diego police department when signs and displays are posted requiring that stop.
DUI checkpoints have also been upheld as constitutional by the California Supreme Court. The Court found that DUI checkpoints are administrative inspections similar to the checkpoints used to screen passengers at an airport.
In other words, the traffic division does not need probable cause to stop cars to search for drunk drivers at a DUI checkpoint.
What Are the Legal Requirements for DUI Checkpoints:
While DUI checkpoints are legal, police must follow certain rules when conducting sobriety tests at a checkpoint. The California Supreme Court described these requirements in the landmark court case, Ingersoll v. Palmer.
The legal requirements for a DUI checkpoint in California are:
- The DUI checkpoint must be publicly advertised in advance
- Law enforcement must display clear signs that show the official status of the checkpoint
- The criteria for stopping drivers must be neutral
- A supervising law enforcement official must make all operational decisions
- The location of the checkpoint must be reasonable
- Police must maintain a safe traffic flow for all drivers
- Drivers must be detained for a minimal amount of time
- The checkpoint must be run at a reasonable time, designed to be effective and reduce unnecessary delays
If local police fail to satisfy these requirements, you may be entitled to challenge an arrest at a DUI checkpoint.
What Are My Legal Rights at a DUI Checkpoint?
While you can’t refuse to stop at the checkpoint, you do have rights during the process. You have the right to refuse to answer questions that might incriminate you. So, if the officer asks you directly whether you have been drinking, you can refuse to answer.
Field officers don’t have the right to search your vehicle. However, the officer can look into your vehicle. If they see something that gives them probable cause for an arrest or search, they can initiate a search.
If the officer believes you have been drinking, they can initiate sobriety testing. They may either request field sobriety testing or a breathalyzer.
Signs of intoxication may include:
- Your speech is slurred
- You have glassy or bloodshot eyes
- The officer smells alcohol on your breath
- You fumble when reaching for your license and registration
- You have problems answering the officer’s questions
You should always be polite if you’re stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Still, it’s important to be aware of your rights. While you can refuse chemical testing, a breath test refusal can have serious legal consequences. Pre-arrest, you have the right to refuse chemical testing. However, the officer can still arrest you for drunk driving even without the breath test results.
After you’ve been arrested, refusing a chemical test is a criminal offense–and it’s important to remember that you can be charged with a DUI regardless of whether you submit to chemical testing. That’s because California has implied consent laws, so that drivers are deemed to consent to sobriety testing whenever they drive a motor vehicle.
Can I Turn Around to Avoid a DUI Checkpoint?
You can turn around to avoid a DUI checkpoint if it’s safe to do so. However, if you violate a traffic law when turning around, the law enforcement officials can pull you over.
In reality, avoiding the checkpoint is often possible because most checkpoints in the city limits are advertised on the local news.
Can the Police Impound My Vehicle?
Under California Vehicle Code Section 2814.2, supervising officers can’t impound a driver’s vehicle at a DUI checkpoint if the driver’s only offense is driving without a valid license.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I Was Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint?
A DUI arrest doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be convicted. There are many effective defense strategies that can be used to challenge your DUI arrest.
At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, we’ll carefully evaluate the circumstances to determine the most effective legal defense in your case.
Depending on the facts, we may argue that:
- Law enforcement violated one or more of the requirements for a legal DUI checkpoint
- The arresting officer lacked probable cause to search your vehicle
- You were arrested because of police bias
- The results of the breath test were invalid
If the DUI checkpoint itself wasn’t administered properly, our San Diego DUI attorneys may be able to have evidence excluded.
Questions About DUI Checkpoints in San Diego? Call for a Free Consultation Today
While DUI checkpoints in San Diego are legal, you continue to have legal rights during the process. If you were arrested and charged after being stopped at a checkpoint, call an experienced San Diego DUI defense lawyer today. At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, we’ll do everything possible to challenge your arrest and protect your future.