We have previously discussed the legality of DUI checkpoints in Vista, including your rights at these traffic stops and how to fight them with your lawyer. But now police in Los Angeles have started performing both breathalyzer and cheek swab tests at DUI checkpoints so they can not only test for alcohol intoxication, but also intoxication through the use of drugs. While such measures haven’t been implemented in San Diego county yet, it is entirely possible that they will be in the future, so it is important to learn how this could affect you.
DUI Checkpoint Rules
First, like most DUI traffic stops, police can only test drivers using a pre-selected randomized pattern, not because they think a specific driver looks suspicious. They also must allow people the right to turn around and avoid the checkpoint. If the police violate either of these rules, your lawyer can show that the checkpoint procedures were violated and that the charges against you cannot hold up, regardless of whether your are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
You Can Refuse the Cheek Swab
The cheek swab test is also voluntary, but if you refuse the test and police have grounds to suspect you are under the influence of drugs, they can arrest you. This is also important because if the police lead you to believe that the test is mandatory or if they arrest you merely for refusing the test, but without any other reason to suspect you have been driving under the influence, an attorney may be able to have the charges against you dropped.
If the police do properly follow their procedures, randomly test you and you fail the cheek swab though, you can still fight the charges with the help of a lawyer. The number one defense against these types of charges is the fact that cheek swabs, like all drug tests, cannot evaluate how much of a substance you used, how long ago you used it and if you are still feeling its effects. This is critical in a DUI case involving drugs because you must be under the influence of the substance while driving in order to be guilty of the crime.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, a lawyer can help you fight the charges no matter what your specific circumstances. If you have any questions, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Matthew Fredrickson