Orange County law enforcement agencies conducted DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols over the Labor Day weekend. The campaign began on August 17 through September 3, 2012 and resulted in 843 arrests. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department expects that number to rise once the final results from all agencies are in.
DUI checkpoints are roadblocks, set up temporarily on public streets, to catch drunk drivers and to cite others for Vehicle Code violations. The police departments conducting these checkpoints must adhere to strict guidelines, which have been established by the Courts.
The guidelines for conducting a DUI Checkpoint are as follows:
1) The establishment and location of the checkpoints must be decided by supervisory police officers, not officers in the field;
2) Police must use a neutral mathematical formula, such as every driver or every third, fifth, or tenth driver to determine who to stop;
3) Proper lighting, warning signs and signals, and clearly identifiable official vehicles are required;
4) The location chosen must be most effective in actually stopping drunk drivers, such as roads which have a high incidence of alcohol-related accidents and arrests;
5) The time and duration of sobriety checkpoints are also important;
6) High visibility is required so that the drivers can easily see the nature of the roadblock;
7) Each motorist stopped should be detained only long enough for the officer to question the driver briefly and to look for signs of intoxication; and
8) Sobriety checkpoints must be announced to the public in advance.
The Supreme Court has also stated that motorists who want to avoid a roadblock may do so and not be subjected to being detained merely because they attempted to avoid the roadblock. The motorist must have committed a vehicle code violation or displayed obvious signs of intoxication for there to be probable cause to pull the motorist over.
Anyone who is arrested for DUI at a sobriety checkpoint should contact an experienced Orange County California DUI attorney to determine whether the checkpoint was conducted according to the guidelines. If the police department conducting the checkpoint did not follow the guidelines properly, the checkpoint is determined to be unlawful and any evidence obtained during the arrest may not be admissible in Court.
If you would like to know more about DUI checkpoints or driving under the influence, contact Attorney William Weinberg at his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008