DUI Roving Patrol vs. DUI Checkpoint in California

Posted By Thomas V. Wallin || 25-Aug-2011

When arresting officers announce that they will be enforcing California DUI laws and getting drunk drivers off of the streets, they usually categorize it as a DUI checkpoint or a DUI roving patrol. But what is the actual definition and difference of each? Both are designed to ensure that motorists are not driving under the influence of alcohol and or drugs but are each one is implemented in two completely different ways.

What is a DUI Checkpoint?

A California DUI Checkpoint is a structured operation that is conducted by local arresting officers to ensure that motorists are not driving while intoxicated.   These checkpoints often are set up in one location (on public streets and roadways, usually near bars or areas known for frequent DUI arrests) and must be conducted according to specific guidelines.   

During a DUI checkpoint in California, officers look for signs of intoxication such as bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech or even the scent of alcohol. If an officer is under the impression that you are driving drunk, they will ask motorists to step out of the vehicle and investigate by asking the driver to perform DUI field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer or blood test.

What is a DUI Roving Patrol?

Because DUI checkpoints must be announced prior to their commencement and are highly visible, DUI roving patrols in California are considered more effective in catching intoxicated drivers.  The word roving can mean nomadic, wandering and traveling which is completely different than a DUI Checkpoint which stays in one location for the duration of the operation.

 In short, Roving DUI Patrols are harder to avoid as arresting officers are not stationed in one specific area but rather are driving around the city looking for individuals who display obvious signs of driving under the influence.  

Contact Us for More Information

Our California DUI Defense Lawyers want you to be aware of the differences so that you can be more prepared. Check out our California DUI Checkpoint Locations Facebook page to stay up to date with all upcoming DUI sobriety checkpoints!