When you stop at a sobriety checkpoint for the first time in California, you may wonder what you’re in for. Will you have to undergo a breath test? Will this lead to a charge of driving under the influence (DUI)? This uncertainty can be stressful, and it can be important for drivers to know their rights at a DUI checkpoint.
What happens when you stop at a checkpoint?
While officers at other traffic stops must have reasonable suspicion in order to stop your vehicle, sobriety checkpoints allow officers to use neutral criteria to stop vehicles without that cause. They may stop every vehicle or stop vehicles at regular intervals.
However, officers at a checkpoint need reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking before they ask you to submit to sobriety testing. Before asking you to undergo one of these tests, they may ask questions about your activities that evening or look for slurred speech and other signs of intoxication.
California DUI checkpoints must also meet a number of requirements, including:
- Checkpoints must be at a reasonable location
- Checkpoints must maintain the safety of motorists
- Checkpoints must indicate that they are an official stop with signs, lights or other indicators
- Checkpoints should be announced before the date the checkpoint will be in operation
Can you defend yourself after a checkpoint stop?
If you were arrested as a result of a stop at a California checkpoint, an experienced attorney can be an important asset when addressing these charges. Your attorney can examine the details of your case as well as the procedures employed by the officers at the checkpoint. If the checkpoint did not meet the necessary requirements, your attorney can use that failure to defend against these charges.
Even at a valid checkpoint, an experienced attorney can help you build a defense strategy that protects your freedom after an arrest.