This is a few of many DUI checkpoints around San Diego county.
There is always a balance when discussing using taxpayer dollars. In this case we can talk about this particular checkpoint. That night tens of thousands of dollars was spent at the checkpoint. The goal was to stop San Diego DUI drivers. Almost 1,300 vehicles went through and only two were San Diego DUI. The rest was citations and impounds (lovely money maker BTW).
On one hand there is an obvious public safety interest in DUIs and some will say the threat of the checkpoint alone is worth the cost. Others point that this location may not have been the best for a checkpoint. The other side is that there is more pressing police costs that is more important. We constantly hear there is no money for items like body cameras and dash cams. However, hundreds of thousands per year go into checkpoints. I see both sides. I actually believe Saturation patrols is more effective than checkpoints. Just a topic for discussion in the news.
A motorist was arrested for drunken driving and three vehicles were impounded during an overnight driver’s license/sobriety checkpoint in Lemon Grove, a sheriff’s sergeant said Sunday.
Also, seven citations were issued for motorists driving with no license or on a suspended or revoked license, said Sgt. Michelle McPhail of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The checkpoint near the 7600 block of Broadway began at 8 p.m. Saturday and ended today at 2:30 a.m., McPhail said.
Here is some caselaw regarding San Diego DUI checkpoints:
Ingersoll v. Palmer
Ingersoll v. Palmer, 43 Cal. 3d 1321 (1987), was the first California case addressing sobriety checkpoints. The case considered the legality of one of the first sobriety checkpoints in California, one designed as a model program. Id. at 1326. The court began by noting that at sobriety checkpoints, police do not need reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to stop motorists:
Petitioners contend the validity of a sobriety checkpoint stop must be determined by the standard set forth in In re Tony C. (1978) 21 Cal. 3d 888, requiring an individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. If the primary purpose of the stop here were to detect crime or gather evidence of crime, we would agree with the contention that an individualized suspicion of wrongdoing is required. But, as we shall explain, the primary purpose of the stop here was not to discover evidence of crime or to make arrests of drunk drivers but to promote public safety by deterring intoxicated persons from driving on the public streets and highways.
The court further stated,
We therefore conclude the propriety of the sobriety checkpoint stops involved here is to be determined not by the standard pertinent to traditional criminal investigative stops, but rather by the standard applicable to investigative detentions and
inspections conducted as part of a regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose.
Id. at 1327-28. The court analogized to airport screening searches, which do not require any individualized suspicion of criminal activity. Id. at 1328. The court considered and rejected the argument that the checkpoint was designed to arrest drunk drivers. Instead, it noted that the checkpoint was designed to raise public awareness and serve as a deterrent, and experience with checkpoints in other states indicated that they were effective deterrents. Id. at 1336-37.
The Ingersoll court also noted some factors in the checkpoint before it that minimized the checkpoint’s intrusiveness:
The decisions of courts of other states and the California Attorney General’s opinion which originally sanctioned the kind of checkpoints operated here have analyzed the issue of intrusiveness extensively and have identified a number of factors important in assessing intrusiveness. The standards articulated in these cases provide functional guidelines for minimizing the intrusiveness of the sobriety checkpoint stop.
Id. at 1341. The eight Ingersoll guidelines are: (1) decision-making at the supervisory level; (2) limits on discretion of field officers; (3) maintenance of safety conditions; (4) reasonable location; (5) reasonable time and duration; (6) indicia of the roadblock’s official nature; (7) minimal length and nature of detention; and (8) advanced publicity. Id. at 1341-46. The program at issue in Ingersoll complied with all of these guidelines, and was approved.
Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUIcharges. Whether you have been charged of a San Diego DUI, Poway DUI, La Mesa DUI, Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI, Clairemont DUI, Point Loma DUI, La Jolla DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Mira Mesa DUI, Pacific Beach DUI, Del Mar DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Encinitas DUI, Oceanside DUI, Ocean Beach DUI, Escondido DUI, Vista DUI, San Marcos DUI, Carlsbad DUI, El Cajon DUI it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at 858-751-4384 or send an email to [email protected].
San Diego-area municipalities have been increasingly using DUI or sobriety stops in recent years to apprehend suspected drunk drivers. The substantial state grant money, proceeds from fines and additional penalty assessments from court convictions has encouraged city governments and the California Highway Patrol to continue expanding the use of DUI checkpoints.
Checkpoints are often set up on weekends throughout San Diego County, from Oceanside to Chula Vista. The use of checkpoints is not always legal, however. In 1987, following the Ingersoll v. Palmer ruling, the United States Supreme Court gave guidelines necessary before any law enforcement officer(s) could initiate a checkpoint.
When a DUI checkpoint arrest is challenged in criminal court, the judge will consider each of the following factors:
- The location chosen for the checkpoint
- Time and duration the checkpoint is operated
- Degree of discretion left to individual police officers
- Standards set by superior officers
- Whether advanced notice was given to the general public and approaching drivers
- Adherence to road safety conditions
- Length of time each driver is stopped and detained
Defending Your DUI Checkpoint Case
I, Mark Deniz, can help you evaluate whether your individual rights were violated and the appropriate next steps in your individual case. I am a local San Diego DUI lawyer who has handled hundreds of jury trials and hundreds of DUI cases throughout the San Diego area.
Common problems with DUI checkpoints include:
- Police officers stopping and detaining drivers who turn off the road before going through an announced DUI roadblock. Making a turn, even if for the expressed purpose of avoiding the roadblock, is not illegal and is not a legitimate reason to stop and detain a driver. It is a violation of your rights, and I can file a motion to have the evidence collected after an illegal stop and arrest thrown out of your case.
- Breath testing with mobile breath test devices. Breath testsadministered in the field may give faulty readings due to damage that can occur to the device in the field and the calibration of the device. I can challenge the reliability of the results on several grounds, including the requirements of Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations, which mandates that individuals being administered breath tests be observed by a police officer for a minimum of 15 continuous minutes prior to the test, which rarely occurs in any DUI arrest situation.
DUI checkpoints impose significant intrusions upon the general public. Their allowance in practice should be extremely limited. If you or a loved one was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving at a DUI roadblock in San Diego or surrounding areas, please call The Law Offices of Mark Deniz APLC to speak with me right away.