Are You Required to Participate in a DUI Checkpoint in California?
It is common for police departments to use DUI checkpoints to try and catch drunk drivers. Note that while it is legal and authorized in California and surrounding states such as Nevada, some states have deemed them unacceptable and do not just them. For example, Texas, Oregon, and Washington do not have DUI checkpoints.
Due to the fact that these checkpoints have been considered unconstitutional by some states and some courts, it is common for a person to wonder if they are required by law to participate in one. The short answer is that in the state of California we recommend that you comply. If it turns out that the checkpoint was not legal, then we can work to have your charge dismissed. Contact The Mattern Law Firm at 310-342-8254 to work with an experienced DUI attorney.
There Are Limits on How the State Can Conduct DUI Checkpoints
While they have been deemed legal in California, there are strict standards that must be met. For one, the checkpoint must be decided by supervisors – not by a field officer. The location of the checkpoint must be chosen by supervisors as well, and the location should be chosen based on areas that have historically had a high incidence of drunk drivers.
Next, the police are required to provide public warning in advance of the checkpoint. This rule is in place to reduce how intrusive the checkpoints are and to increase how much they deter drunk driving. The sign that announces the checkpoint must be far enough in front of the checkpoint that a driver can turn around if they choose to. The officer cannot stop a driver for avoiding the checkpoint. However, they can stop the driver if they violate a traffic law or appear to be driving under the influence.
You Can Refuse Field Sobriety Tests but Not Chemical Tests
If the police ask you to submit to a field sobriety test you can refuse to do so and there are no legal consequences for doing so. However, if you are asked to submit to a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, and you refuse, you will automatically have your driver’s license suspended whether you were drinking or not. This is due to the implied consent laws in California which hold that by driving in this state, your consent to sobriety tests.
Contact an Attorney for Help with Your DUI Charges
No matter what the specifics of the situation are, if you have been charged with a DUI then you should contact an attorney sooner rather than later. Do not plead guilty without first getting a case evaluation. We may be able to have the charges reduced or find a creative sentencing option. Call The Mattern Law Firm at 310-342-8254 now for a free legal consultation.