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DUI Checkpoints and Increased Patrols During Labor Day Weekend Leads to 363 Arrests. What Are Your Rights?

This past Labor Day weekend Sacramento police and other local enforcement agencies cracked down on driving while under the influence with DUI checkpoints and increased patrols. Over 300 arrests were made during the three day weekend.

Usually, police officers must have probable cause to stop you. Probable cause usually include signs of weaving in and out of lanes, speeding, failure to stop or stopping too long at stop signs and traffic lights. DUI checkpoints are the exception to the probable cause rule. Officers do not need probable cause to stop a car. However, this does not mean that officers can arbitrarily decide who to stop. DUI checkpoints must comply with very strict criteria to be constitutional.

In Ingersoll v. Palmer, the California Supreme Court set out eight functional guidelines to determine whether a DUI checkpoint is constitutional.

  1. Supervising officers must determine where, how, and when DUI checkpoints will occur. Field officers cannot make these decisions.
  2. The criteria for stopping motorists must be determined ahead of time using a neutral mathematical selection criteria, such as every fifth car or every other car, etc.
  3. The checkpoints must be reasonably located in areas where there are high occurrences of DUIs.
  4. Adequate safety precautions must be taken.
  5. The checkpoint’s time and duration must be reasonable.
  6. Motorists should be able to clearly see that they are approaching an official DUI checkpoint.
  7. Drivers should only be detained long enough for officers to identify any signs of intoxication, such as blurred speech or alcohol on the breath. Without probable cause, drivers should not be detained for any extended period of time.
  8. DUI checkpoints should be advertised in advanced.

If a DUI checkpoint does not comply with these criteria, any arrests made at such checkpoints can be challenged based on constitutional grounds. If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, call Matthew Tabo at The Tabo Law Firm, (916) 504-2660, for a consultation. Attorney Tabo can help you determine if the checkpoint was constitutional, and help you defend or dismiss the charges against you.

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