DUI Checkpoints

DUI Defense:  Legal Checkpoints or Unconstitutional Roadblocks?

The Law Office of Richard Wagner, A Professional Corporation, has masterfully defended clients arrested for drunk driving or DUI after being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. The checkpoints may be operated by law enforcement officials of several local police departments calling themselves a special DUI task force.

After your arrest, the prosecutor will file a complaint in the Superior Court of California charging you with violations of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 (a)(b)(c)(f) or (g), and possibly other vehicle code offenses.

Before you enter your guilty plea, it is critical that you immediately meet DUI Defense Checkpoint Attorneys who will explain to you how DUI Sobriety Checkpoint cases are defended.

All DUI Sobriety Checkpoints cases in Southern California should be evaluated with Penal Code section 1538.5 in mind.  DUI Defense Checkpoint Lawyers must give serious consideration to filing a motion to suppress all the evidence police and law enforcement obtained at the DUI checkpoint used against you to show you were impaired by  alcohol or drugs or both.

DUI Defense Checkpoint Lawyer Richard Wagner files these motions in court to  challenge the legality of the DUI checkpoint. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the basis for the challenge to the prosecutor to show that the DUI checkpoint conformed to the guidelines set forth by the California Supreme Court.

The California Supreme Court Guidelines:

(1) Whether the decision to establish a sobriety checkpoint, the selection of the site, and the procedures for the operation of the checkpoint are made and established by supervisory law enforcement personnel;

(2) Whether motorists are stopped according to a neutral formula, such as every third, fifth or tenth driver;

(3) Whether adequate safety precautions are taken, such as proper lighting, warning signs, and signals, and whether clearly identifiable official vehicles and personnel are used;

(4) Whether the location of the checkpoint was determined by a policymaking official, and was reasonable, i.e., on a road having a high incidence of alcohol-related accidents or arrests;

(5) Whether the time the checkpoint was conducted and its duration reflect “good judgment” on the part of law enforcement officials;

(6) Whether the checkpoint exhibits sufficient indicia of its official nature (to reassure motorists of the authorized nature of the stop);

(7) Whether the average length and nature of the detention is minimized; and

(8) Whether the checkpoint is preceded by publicity.

As California Supreme Court Justice Broussard stated, “the Fourth Amendment is highly inexpedient to law enforcement … I see no basis for distinguishing a drunken driving roadblock from any other mass detention …”

Attorneys experienced with DUI checkpoints identify the crucial parts of your DUI defense regardless of your blood-alcohol level.

The purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials.

With the right DUI Defense Attorneys looking for the right evidence in your favor, your attorney can make the case that the checkpoint was actually an unconstitutional roadblock and you were stopped illegally and subjected to a warrantless search and seizure.

In 1987, the California Supreme Court held that sobriety checkpoints are lawful under the state and federal constitutions if they are conducted within certain limitations. For a sobriety checkpoint, not to be declared an unconstitutional roadblock, each must regulated according to constitutional guidelines.

However, the use of a checkpoint is extremely controversial because of the real danger it poses to our liberty interests, including the right to be secure in our persons, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures as stated in the Fourth Amendment of United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court upheld the use of sobriety checkpoints, stressing the individual states’ strong interest in eliminating the serious problem of drunk driving.

In 2000, the United States Supreme Court ruled that vehicle checkpoints for the purpose of interdicting unlawful drugs violated the Fourth Amendment of United States Constitution. The primary purpose of a sobriety checkpoint must be to “prevent and deter conduct injurious to persons and property.”

The United States Supreme Court noted the United States Supreme Court has never approved a checkpoint program whose primary purpose was to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing.  The fact that it may have a secondary purpose of keeping impaired motorists off the road does not make such a checkpoint Constitutional.

If you have been arrested for a DUI or driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more, contact or call The Law Office of Richard Wagner, A Professional Corporation at 714-721-4423 for a FREE CONSULTATION.