I was reading the news and came across an article (below) where they bring up how San Diego DUI checkpoints are legal. They are. However, what caused me to take issue was when they likened checkpoints to airport screenings. No way.
It is NOT like airport screening. In airport screening, I wait in line, put my items in a machine. I let them do their job and I pass through. I do not have to say a word if I don’t want to (nor as an American citizen I have to). I can look like a grump and just follow the screeners instructions (like take off a belt, go back through the machine, etc).
At a San Diego DUI checkpoint, the officer immediately asks about the amount of drinks you had that evening. An individual is not required to say anything. However, the truth is that when someone exercises their rights and chooses not to talk….they have just raised suspicions of guilt. Is it really like airport screening?
If you do begin to talk….They will then ask where you are going…where you came from. They want a re-cap of the night. All of this is pertinent to a San Diego DUI investigation so I do not blame them. However, from this point un-cooperation will likely result in arrest. The officer will claim that he has little information to form his opinion. If you force him to go on the information he has….he will arrest. They will ask again…do you want to talk? If not, you will likely have a San Diego DUI arrest. You will be taken to jail…..your vehicle towed…your license suspended….cost to bail out….all because you exercised you constitutional rights.
Is this still like airport screening?
So, the counter argument is that if you did not drink, then you have nothing to hide. If you are not doing anything wrong then why is there an issue to talking to police?
It is legal to drink and drive. Just do not be “impaired” or .08% or greater blood. More importantly, people have the right not communicate to police. That wouldn’t be me necessarily, but I know many people who just do not want to talk. You know what….they have that right.
The reality is we give police a strong power in the ability to arrest. San Diego DUI arrests MUST BE BASED ON SOLID EVIDENCE because the consequences are so dire
Many readers of our guide to when police can pull you over raised an interesting question.
Police need to believe you’ve done something wrong before they can stop you, otherwise pulling you over could violate your Fourth Amendment rights. But what about DUI checkpoints, which allow police to stop cars and check whether drivers are drunk?
I put the question to Alex Kreit, a Thomas Jefferson School of Law professor. In 1990, Kreit said, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of DUI checkpoints as one of the limited circumstances where police can pull a car over without any reasonable suspicion.
“The court held that the need to get drunk drivers off of the road, and to deter people from driving drunk in the first place, justified the use of checkpoints. The rule doesn’t permit individual officers to pull cars over in the absence of a checkpoint. Part of the rationale is that being stopped at a checkpoint is considered to be less intrusive and subject to abuse than being singled out. If the police set up a DUI checkpoint where they stop and briefly question everyone who passes through (or every fifth car, or what have you), every driver knows that they’re going to be stopped in advance and they know that they’re being stopped simply because they are driving through a checkpoint and not because the police think they’ve done anything wrong.”
Even though it’s not required by law, police agencies often give advance notice of DUI checkpoints. The California Highway Patrol tells the media the time and location of its DUI checkpoints at least 48 hours beforehand and relies the press to get the word out. The San Diego Police Department also says in advance when and where its DUI checkpoints will be. (A San Diego State University grad has developed a cell phone app that alerts people to DUI checkpoints. The grad also is suing SDPD over his treatment at a DUI checkpoint.)
Ultimately, you should think of DUI checkpoints like airport screenings, Kreit said.
“The police couldn’t stop you on the street and look through your bags for no reason. But, because of the special need to make sure dangerous weapons aren’t brought onto airplanes, they can set up security checkpoints at the airport. It’s the same sort of rationale for DUI checkpoints.”
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