Many people who have been arrested at DUI checkpoints wonder if their rights have been violated -after all, the police didn’t have a reasonable suspision for stopping any particular vehicle at the checkpoint. In a way, DUI checkpoints do violate a person’s rights against unreasonable search and seizure, but the courts have upheld their legality, though only if the checkpoint observes a strict set of rules. If you were arrested for drunk driving at a DUI checkpoint, San Diego DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss can help.
Because checkpoints do not require police to operate under the reasonable suspicion threshold normally required in order to stop drivers, they are subject to a number of specific rules to ensure they are operated fairly and legally. Before the checkpoint is set up, the police must select a reasonable location as picked out by supervising officers and they must set up warning signs days in advance.
All checkpoints must have a supervising officer present at all times to make sure the rules are followed. When the checkpoint is in operation, it must look official, be neutrally run, not detain drivers for excessive periods and drivers must have the right to drive away from the checkpoint. If you see a checkpoint and turn around, the police cannot stop you or your San Diego DUI attorney may have the charges dropped because the police violated your rights. Courts follow a totality of the circumstances rule in assessing whether a sobriety checkpoint is legal.
At many checkpoints, officers will decide they cannot stop every car in the interest of keeping traffic moving. When this occurs, the superior officer must decide at what interval cars must be stopped, selecting every three cars, every other car, etc. That means that if police see a driver who may be intoxicated, they cannot stop the vehicle unless it happens to fit in the interval system. Even if a car is painted to say “DUIs 4 Ever,” police stopping every other vehicle could not stop the car if they stopped the car before it. If they fail to follow these guidelines, a San Diego DUI lawyer will be able to have the charges against the driver dropped or reduced.
DUI attorneys in San Diego also have any other common DUI defenses at their disposal in these cases, which is why anyone arrested at a checkpoint should always fight the charges against them. If you have been charged with drunk driving after being stopped at a checkpoint, please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with San Diego DUI attorney Peter M. Liss.
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