Although they may not be the best tool for the identification of drunk drivers, DUI checkpoints are still commonly used in the San Diego area (and throughout the state of California). The efficiency and accuracy of these checkpoints are debatable. DUI checkpoints were modeled after roadside safety checks as well as license and registration inspection checkpoints. At a DUI checkpoint, police will check a driver’s sobriety. If the driver exhibits any signs of impairment, the driver will be asked to exit the vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests. In Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, the U.S. Supreme Court held that DUI checkpoints were constitutional and that they did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure. Therefore, it is not likely that DUI checkpoints will go away anytime soon.
In recent years, sobriety checkpoints have been increasingly utilized in the San Diego area. Proceeds from fines and California state grant dollars have only served to encourage the use of these checkpoints. DUI checkpoints are most often set up on the weekends throughout the county.
Just last week, six motorists were arrested for driving under the influence at a DUI checkpoint in the East Village neighborhood of San Diego. Six vehicles also were impounded during the checkpoint that occurred at the 1400 block of G Street on Saturday night. San Diego police officer Mark McCullough said that 2,597 vehicles passed through the checkpoint that night, and 1,050 of those were screened by police.
When an arrest at a sobriety checkpoint is challenged in court, the judge will consider a variety of factors to determine its legality. These factors include:
- The checkpoint’s location
- Duration of the operation of the checkpoint
- Standards set by superior officers, with a degree of discretion left to the police officers at the checkpoint
- Whether or not advance notice was given to the public for this checkpoint
- Length of detainment for each driver
- Adherence to road safety conditions and rules
Contact the Law Offices of Sean F. Leslie
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI as a result of a sobriety checkpoint in the San Diego area, it is vital that you contact an experienced attorney ASAP. The Law Offices of Sean F. Leslie have extensive experience fighting DUI charges, and we can help you mitigate your charges or eliminate them entirely. Contact us today for a free consultation.