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13 Arrested at Mission Bay DUI Checkpoint

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2015 | Firm News |

Lets first take a look at the most recent news about a San Diego DUI Checkpoint.

SDPD arrested 13 people during a DUI checkpoint in the 4200 block of Mission Bay Drive.

Between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Friday night 744 drivers were screened by officers, and 14 drivers were detained to evaluate their sobriety further.

“The message is simple, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’. Drinking alcohol and driving do not mix. If you plan to consume alcohol, you should also plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride a motorcycle,” said Officer Mark McCullough.

The checkpoint was made possible by a California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) ‘STEP Grant.’

The national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is led by OTS and NHTSA with the California Avoid DUI Task Force Campaign. It combines high-visibility enforcement and heightened public awareness through publicity.

So what are those 13 drivers supposed to do now?

With the holidays approaching, we will see more and more checkpoints around San Diego. A San Diego DUI that comes out of a checkpoint brings out several issues in a San Diego DUI case.

The issue of WHO is usually driving is not in a San Diego DUI case.

A San Diego checkpoint case does raise flags for several issues. First, there usually is not bad driving. Someone comes into a checkpoint. The officer asks a few questions and may smell some alcohol. They direct the driver to a secondary screening. If the drivers does this well….does that help show impairment or lack thereof? Following directions and performing functions is a sign you are not impaired.

A part of a thorough San Diego DUI defense is to ensure the checkpoint is legal. Below is one of many cases that touches on the issue.

As the holidays come up it is key to be safe and smart. There is sure to be more San Diego DUI checkpoints before the year comes to an end.

Eleven motorists were arrested overnight Saturday on suspicion of drunken driving near a sobriety/driver’s license checkpoint in downtown San Diego, police reported.

Twelve vehicles were also impounded during the checkpoint in the 1400 block of G Street that began at 11 p.m. Saturday and ended Sunday at 3 a.m., said San Diego police officer Mark McCullough.

McCullough said 1,941 vehicles passed through the checkpoint with 675 of those motorists being screened by officers.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The full article can be found here.

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