In the last decade or so, there has been a real increase in California patrols searching for intoxicated drivers. It's all in an effort to save lives and keep intoxicated drivers from being a danger to themselves or others. While their efforts may be justified, it still can be a serious situation when a Sacramento driver is charged with DUI/DWI. For those charged after a DWI checkpoint, you may be wondering if these checkpoints are even legal?
The answer to this question is yes. For those who live in California, checkpoints are a legal way for officers to locate and apprehend impaired drivers who are suspected of DWI. Legality of checkpoints are determined by state law, so there are some states that do not recognized DWI checkpoints as legal. However, for Sacramento residents that are apprehended by a DWI/DUI checkpoint, the means by which the person is apprehended are generally within the law.
How do you know if you are being stopped at a checkpoint or if you were charged with DWI at a California DWI checkpoint? Checkpoints usually consist of roadblocks along intersections, where officers stop random vehicles at regular intervals (such as every 5th driver) and check for signs of intoxication. Essentially, the process is allegedly random, however, if an officer observes a driver operating their vehicle erratically or suspiciously, they do have the right to flag down the motorist on suspicion of intoxicated driving. This can ultimately lead to a person being charged with DWI.
There is a way in which officers are expected to conduct these checkpoints in a legal way. Failure to do this could have ramification on the allegation or charge. Regardless of checkpoints, officers have the right to pull over a driver if they suspect intoxication or if they observe behavior associated with intoxicated drivers. The best way to avoid DWI or DUI is to make responsible decisions when enjoying alcohol, but there is a way to put your best foot forward after facing a DUI charge.
Source: FindLaw, "DUI Checkpoints," Accessed July 31, 2017