Caught at a DUI Checkpoint in Orange County? Contact a Drunk Driving Defense Attorney
If you have spent any time on a Friday or Saturday evening driving the streets of Orange County, chances are you've run into a DUI checkpoint. If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, Law Office of Michael L. Guisti wants you to know police need to follow a very strict procedure—or your case could be dismissed. Police make a pretense that the purpose of these DUI checkpoints is to "deter" people from driving drunk, but our Orange County DUI lawyers and you know full good and well the purpose is to arrest drunk drivers.
According to the landmark 1987 California Supreme Court case of Ingersoll v. Palmer, DUI checkpoints must adhere to specific requirements in order to be constitutionally recognized. If they do not, you could possibly get your DUI charges reduced or even dismissed.
- Being Stopped at a Checkpoint: When pulling into a DUI checkpoint, the police officer must only ask you questions pertaining to whether or not you were drinking. If the officer suspects you DUI, you'll be directed to park your car and perform a field sobriety tests (FST).
- The Officer in Charge: The supervising officer must determine where, how, and when their DUI checkpoint will operate and will be held prior to setting up the DUI checkpoint. This includes establishing the criteria for how cars will be stopped, such as, for example, every two cars will be stopped and inspected for DUI. Bottom line, how the DUI checkpoint will operate needs to be on record before the DUI checkpoint can be set up.
- DUI Checkpoint Location: Per Ingersoll v. Palmer, the location of the DUI checkpoint must be reasonable and not in some seemingly random or obscure location. This means, the DUI checkpoint must be in a location where there is a record of high volume of DUI-related arrests.
- DUI Checkpoint Must Be Publicly Advertised: DUI checkpoints must be publicly advertised prior to the date of the DUI checkpoint. While police agencies are legally obligated to advertise upcoming DUI checkpoint, the reality is most, but not all, police agencies often minimize advertising upcoming DUI checkpoints. To be fair, some Orange County police agencies have actually begun using Twitter and Facebook to announce DUI checkpoints. If you are so inclined, you may contact the police department and inquire about any upcoming DUI checkpoints for the weekend.
DUI checkpoints must have the following:
- Warning signs
- Flashing lights
- Adequate lighting
- Marked police cars
- Presence of uniformed police officers
The lack of any of these could result in your DUI case being dismissed.
Yes! You have the legal right to drive away from a DUI checkpoint. You may drive away from a DUI checkpoint as long as you do not violate any traffic laws and/or display signs that you're driving under the influence. Many people approaching a DUI checkpoint often make the mistake of making a sudden U-turn crossing the double yellow line. Aside from potential DUI problems, this now invites a traffic ticket. Just remember that if you are approaching a DUI checkpoint, turn away legally. Even if you have turned away legally, be advised if you have some issue with your car, like a taillight out, expect to be pulled over.
Having been arrested at a DUI checkpoint may seem intimidating, but our experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyers can investigate and examine the procedures used at the DUI checkpoint. If strict DUI checkpoint procedures were not adhered to, we can work to suppress evidence and have your case dismissed.
We understand you may be a little scared, but rest assured knowing that Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can handle your case in best possible way to reduce your criminal charges or possibly dismiss your case. We can guide you through the legal process, represent you in and out of court, give you all best possible solutions for your case, and do everything possible to make this complicated time much easier. Call today at (714) 530-9690.
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Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.