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DUI checkpoint ruled unlawful by appellate court

We didn’t intend to immediately follow up one blog entry with another featuring the same subject matter. Because a case currently spotlighted in the news seems to logically connect a few dots, though, we discuss its essential details in today’s post.

That just-concluded court matter focused upon sobriety checkpoints, which comprised the central subject of our August 23 post at the Alameda County Law Office of John Noonan. The main takeaway of that blog effort was that DUI roadblocks – which operate in many states, including California – are constitutionally sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court, yet subject to some explicit guidelines and limitations.

Law enforcers operating within the specified parameters are deemed to be engaging in lawful behavior and given broad latitude in setting up and administering roadblocks. Conversely, police departments that do not adequately comply with requirements risk having evidence judicially tossed for being the fruit of an unreasonable search and seizure.

That latter outcome was just realized in the above-cited case. An appellate tribunal in another state ruled that a checkpoint was constitutionally infirm for lacking proper notice provided to the public in advance and for being located in an unsafe place (a detainment area just past a tunnel exit).

The defendant in that case had challenged his DUI conviction based upon those shortcomings. The court dismissed his conviction.

Many motorists in California think that challenging the government in a matter alleging the unconstitutionality of a sobriety roadblock or other enforcement action is futile.

That is often far from true, as noted from the above case. Proven criminal defense attorneys often find flaws in offered evidence and prosecutorial strategies that result in mitigated or even dismissed criminal cases.

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