DUI checkpoints are nothing new. They have been implemented by law enforcement for decades for the purpose of driving under the influence deterrence. It might seem like an illegal stop of your vehicle having to be subjected to what is essentially an involuntary, brief criminal investigation without cause, but they are perfectly legal so long as law enforcement complies with legal mandates spelled out in the case of Ingersoll v. Palmer, 43 Cal.3d 1321 (1987).
These checkpoints are an exception to the rule that in order for a cop to stop your vehicle s/he must have reasonable suspicion to believe that you are committing, or have committed a crime. So the question arises whether you have to be subjected to these “regulatory” stops.
You may take any action you are legally allowed to take to avoid these checkpoints. That includes making legal turns, legal U-turns, and three point turns in residential driveways. A cop cannot (legally) stop you (except for these DUI and other “regulatory checkpoints”) unless you break the law. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Seizures meaning stops, detentions, arrests and confiscations, not bodily convulsions. Making a legal turn before a DUI checkpoint by itself does not give rise to reasonable suspicion for a cop to pull you over. Weaving, driving too slow, driving too fast, straddling lanes, failure to use a signal when turning, lack of registration tags, front license plate violations, window tint violations, modified exhaust violations, lighting violations, obstructed windshield violations, and every other infraction on the books IS a legitimate reason to stop you and turn that fix it ticket into a DUI nightmare. So don’t drive drunk, or with any alcohol in your system for that matter. You could pay for taxi rides for decades for the cost of one first offense DUI.
If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint you should seek legal advice from a local criminal defense lawyer experienced in DUI defense. The Law Offices of Matthew S. Luzaich provides free legal consultations to evaluate your case, provide you with legal information, possible defenses and outcomes. Call today to speak with a Chico lawyer.
*The purpose of this article is purely for informational purposes only. I do not endorse drunk driving. Nor is this meant to be a guide on how to break the law and get away with it.