Legal Challenges to Sobriety Checkpoints

 

Many people believe that the only issue in a DUI/DWI case is whether or not the individual was intoxicated.  This simply is not so.  The most important issue in any DUI/DWI case is not whether or not the individual was intoxicated and broke the law by driving drunk, but rather whether or not the police followed proper procedures.  Experienced California DUI attorneys have won many DUI cases because the police did something wrong.  If the police conducted a DUI investigation illegally, then any evidence they obtained was obtained illegally and is not admissible in court.  In order for a sobriety checkpoint to be legal, certain protocol as outlined by both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court must be followed. 

 

Things a California DUI Defense Attorney Will Look For

A good California DUI defense attorney will investigate many facets of a client’s DUI arrest, including learning as much as possible about a sobriety checkpoint that resulted in the client’s DUI arrest.  There are various issues that can be challenged as a result of a sobriety checkpoint DUI arrest, and experienced California DUI attorneys will look at:

 

  • Whether or not the roadblock was conducted in a constitutionally permissible manner
  • The individual(s) responsible for selecting the site for the sobriety roadblock
  • The reasonableness of the location of the checkpoint
  • The potential visibility of the site by oncoming motorists, including warning signs, lights and uniformed police officers
  • The time the checkpoint began and ended
  • Who conducted the checkpoint
  • All reports and diagrams used to prepare and outline the procedures for the checkpoint
  • Whether a neutral mathematical formula was utilized in stopping drivers or if it was left up to the officers’ own discretion
  • How long each motorist was stopped at the checkpoint
  • If steps were taken to insure the safety of all drivers
  • If field sobriety tests were performed and, if so, who conducted them
  • If drivers were allowed the opportunity to turn away from the roadblock without being stopped