DUI checkpoints are a common tool used by law enforcement to try to catch drunk drivers. In early February, for example, the Fresno Bee reported that Visalia police had established several DUI checkpoints on the prior Friday evening. One checkpoint was set up in northwest Fresno, near Shaw and Brawley Avenues. The other was set up near Akers and Cypress Avenue.
According to the Fresno Bee, there were six drunk drivers arrested at the Shaw and Brawley Avenues checkpoint. These were not the first DUI checkpoints to catch alleged drunk drivers, either. Just a few weeks prior, in January, the Fresno Bee reported that 16 people were arrested for suspicion of DUI.
DUI Checkpoints Used to Catch Alleged Offenders
Stories of alleged drunk drivers being arrested after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint can, in fact, be found almost every week on the pages of the Fresno Bee and other local newspapers. Law enforcement officers routinely set up these checkpoints at locations where they believe drunk drivers will be or during times when they suspect people will drive drunk, such as holiday weekends.
At a DUI checkpoint, law enforcement will screen drivers to determine if there are signs of intoxication. If there is reasonable suspicion that a driver is drunk, law enforcement will make the driver submit to a BAC test. Every time you drive in California, you give implied consent to such a test if there is probable cause. This means drivers cannot refuse.
DUI Checkpoints and Your Legal Rights in Fresno
While DUI checkpoints may help police identify a lot of alleged drunk drivers, they are controversial. The problem is that the Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable search and seizure. Setting up a DUI roadblock is seizure and, therefore, can be seen as a violation of the protections provided by the Constitution.
The Supreme Court, however, indicated that checkpoints are allowed. Although the Supreme Court admitted that the checkpoints are a seizure, the checkpoints are only minimally intrusive on your rights and the court believes there is a stronger interest in preventing drunk driving.
How a Fresno DUI Lawyer Can Help
Although the Court allows DUI checkpoints, there are special rules for them, including the fact that police must have a designated plan or procedure in place on how to stop drivers when conducting the checkpoint.
If law enforcement violated any of the Constitutional protections or limitations on DUI checkpoints, evidence they collect cannot be used against you.
If you have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, a Fresno DUI attorney can evaluate the circumstances to help determine if there were any violations of your rights. If so, then the evidence may be thrown out and the charges against you potentially dropped.
The Law Offices of Terry A. Wapner has helped clients avoid conviction after being arrested at a DUI checkpoint. Contact our office today to find out what we can do for you.