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.