The Basics of Sobriety Checkpoints in California
There have been many resources committed to fighting drunk driving in California. Law enforcement agencies routinely increase saturation patrols in areas where driving under the influence is a serious problem. Police have many tools that they can use when looking for drunk drivers, including the use of sobriety checkpoints.
While the use of these DUI checkpoints has become more common within the state, police must take several steps to ensure that they are being administered according to proper procedures. They may advertise where the checkpoint will be happening to give notice to motorists, but it is not required by law in order to be valid. However, they do need to put up signs alerting oncoming drivers to the fact that a checkpoint is in operation.
Law enforcement officers must devise a strategy to ensure that motorists are not targeted when driving through the area. This means that each driver approaching the roadblock will have the same likelihood of being stopped, and officers need to be sure that they adhere to whatever system they have in place.
The amount of time of the traffic stop is another important part of the checkpoint. Motorists should only be detained for a short period that allows the officers a chance to check for signs of impairment. This may include the officer asking questions, or looking to see if there are any open containers of alcohol in plain view.
If the officer believes that the motorist is impaired, the investigation will continue. The motorist may be ordered to a different area in the checkpoint, where the police may perform field sobriety tests. In some situations, the motorist may be administered preliminary blood or breath tests to check if he or she is above the legal limit in California.
Recently, some law enforcement agencies in the state have started taking more aggressive steps toward finding drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Officers are using swabs to check for the level of alcohol or drugs in a person's system, which could result in many more DUI arrests within the state.
For many individuals, an arrest for driving under the influence is the first time they have ever been in any sort of legal trouble. They have no idea what they need to do after they have been arrested, and they make significant mistakes that end up causing them serious problems throughout their case.
If you are arrested for DUI, do not speak to police officers until you have an experienced criminal defense attorney present. An attorney can help you begin creating a strong defense to the accusations you are facing, and also allow you to ask questions about your specific situation.