California DUI Checkpoints


What is a DUI Checkpoint?

If you’ve been driving long enough and have driven in a busy area at night, you have probably been through a DUI checkpoint at some point in your life. DUI checkpoints are employed by police throughout the state of California to help identify, arrest, and charge drunk drivers. They are typically conducted at night, when big events are being held in the area, or on holiday weekends, and on surface streets. However, they can be held on any date, time, and location – even on freeways.

During a DUI checkpoint, police officers will check a driver’s license and whether or not they are displaying symptoms of intoxication or seem under the influence. If the police officer suspects intoxication or use of drugs, they will request the driver to pull over and step out of the vehicle for field sobriety tests.

In the United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) case of Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S., 444 (190), the Court held that DUI checkpoints were not violations of Fourth Amendment Rights. Although the Fourth Amendment prohibits against the use of unreasonable searches and seizures, the safety benefits of holding DUI checkpoints outweighs any possible unreasonable searches citizens may claim take place during these checkpoints. The Court further held that the governmental interests supported by DUI checkpoints—such as the reduction of injuries and fatalities caused by DUI crashes; identifying and removing intoxicated drivers from the roads; and possibly preventing further DUIs—were too important to prohibit the use of DUI checkpoints solely based on the possibility of invasive searches. However, this does not mean that DUI checkpoints can consist of searches without limit. During this case, Chief Justice Rehnquist acknowledged the need for guidelines when conducting sobriety tests.

Not only has SCOTUS weighed in on DUI checkpoint regulations, but the California Supreme Court has also heard cases on the matter. In the 1987 case of Ingersoll v. Palmer, the California Supreme Court held that DUI checkpoints were required to adhere to certain safeguards they put forward. This way, the checkpoints would be compliant with the State Constitution, and would have a lower chance of potentially violating any individuals’ rights.

DUI Checkpoint FAQs

Although many people have a general understanding of DUI checkpoints, we’ve gathered and answered some of the most common questions people have regarding them to help further this understanding.  

  • What’s the purpose DUI checkpoints?
    • The theoretical purpose of DUI sobriety checkpoints is to detect and apprehend drunk drivers.
  • Do DUI checkpoints stop every single car?
    • Although DUI checkpoints do not need to stop every car which goes through, it cannot make “random” stops of cars, due to potential selection biases this could cause. However, “randomly” stopping every other car or every third car would not be considered “random” so long as there is consistency in the “random” patterns.  
  • Are DUI checkpoints even legal?
    • Yes, as mentioned above, both the California and United States Supreme Courts have held that DUI checkpoints are legally allowed to be conducted.
  • How can I spot a DUI checkpoint?
    • There will be cones, barriers, police officers, and signs indicating that an official DUI checkpoint is being held. Additionally, DUI checkpoints will be announced in advance by local police stations (see section below).
  • What should I expect when pulling up to a DUI checkpoint?
    • DUI checkpoint stops are very routine. When you pull up to one, you may be asked to show your driver’s license and registration, and you can also expect a short check-in conversation with the police officer explaining the checkpoint process.
  • Is there any way to avoid DUI checkpoints?
    • While there is no way to avoid passing through a DUI Checkpoint if you pull up to one or are stopped at one, there may still be a legal loophole which would help you avoid going through a DUI Checkpoint. While it may not be completely ethical, you can use social media and apps which track Checkpoints to help avoid them on your driving route. However – proceed with caution if doing this, and note it is not necessarily advised.

Police Departments Must Tell the Public Before They Hold a DUI Sobriety Checkpoint

Within the California Supreme Court case of Ingersoll v. Palmer, the Court provided eight requirements that law enforcement officers must follow when utilizing a DUI checkpoint. One of these requirements was that checkpoints must be advertised in advance. In other words, the police department must advise the public when and where they intend to operate a DUI checkpoint. Moreover, the advance notice must be reasonable.

Most police departments publish the notice on their social media websites. An example of what that may look like can be found at this link, which shows a recent DUI checkpoint announcement by the Riverside Sherriff’s Office. They might also put the notice in local newspapers and announce it on local newscasts. It is important to note that failing to advertise a DUI checkpoint does not by itself make the checkpoint unlawful or unconstitutional.

Other Ways to Find DUI Checkpoints

Modern Technology such as social media apps allow people to submit current information warning other drivers of upcoming checkpoints on their driving routes. One example of this is the popular Twitter page, @CheckpointsDUI. This page shares DUI checkpoints submitted by other Twitter users, with an emphasis on Checkpoints in California, Ohio, and Florida.

Several resources are widely available to help locate DUI checkpoints near you, and we’ve also compiled a list of them at the bottom of this article.

What To Do If You Have Been Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint

If you have been charged with a DUI being stopped at a DUI checkpoint or need any other California DUI legal advice and want an expert to evaluate your case, the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor can provide top notch California DUI help. Here at the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor, our California DUI attorneys specialize in helping you deal with your criminal charges in a way that would be most beneficial to you. Schedule a free consultation with one of our expert California DUI attorneys here.

FIND SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT LOCATIONS NEAR YOU

The following resources contain more information on where the find DUI checkpoints near you:

SOURCES:

Leave a comment read more

How Many DUIs Does the Most “Decorated” DUI-Holder Have?


Don’t take risks with alcohol

Have you ever wondered how many DUIs a person has received? Have you ever wondered who has the most DUIs, ever? (We’re using The Price Is Right rules here, so don’t guess too high…) Unfortunately, even if you guess a number that you think is too high to be correct, you might be shocked.

Although people are usually excited to brag about the records they hold, some records held are not always ones to brag about. In 2013, we wrote a blog post about a South Dakota man named Jerry Zeller. Mr. Zeller was appropriately nicknamed “Mr. DUI.” At the time of writing our 2013 blog post, Mr. DUI had over 30 separate DUI charges. Nearly 10 years and a pandemic later, we were curious to see how Jerry was doing now, and if he’s since been dethroned as “Mr. DUI.”

Despite the minimal amount of published statistics on this topic and the difficulty in tracking down and fact-checking the statistics that actually are published, it looks like our very own Mr. DUI still holds the record for the most amount of DUIs received by one person. With over 30 DUIs, maybe it’s a good thing that Mr. Zeller still wears this crown, as it’s rough to imagine another person having over 30 DUIs on their own.

Consequences of DUIs

With so many DUIs under his belt, it’s hard to imagine that Mr. Zeller didn’t have his Driver’s License suspended or revoked at any point. Although we don’t have definitive data on Mr. Zeller’s exact circumstances, it does bring up the question of how he received so many DUIs. Aren’t there supposed to be rules, regulations, and consequences put into place to avoid this exact type of thing?

Sentencing and Punishment for a DUI in CA

In the state of California, the punishment for DUIs can depend on several factors. Aggravating factors, past DUI convictions, the county in which you receive the DUI, and the facts of the case can increase the severity of your punishment. Potential DUI penalties include:

●  Fines and assessments that could total thousands of dollars;

●  Time spent in county jail or state prison;

●  Restitution paid to the victims you injured driving while intoxicated;

●  Three to five years of probation;

●  Attending DUI school and other DUI programs;

●  Community service and other probation requirements;

●  Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID);

●  Driver’s license suspension or revocation;

●  A strike against the Three Strikes Law for a felony DUI conviction; and

●  Designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender.

The collateral consequences of a DUI conviction generally include higher insurance premiums for at least three years. Additionally, you could lose your job or find it more difficult to find employment. Some professional licenses can be suspended or revoked, and it may be more difficult to qualify for specific government benefits and student loans.

Although these consequences, procedures, and regulations are California-based and Mr. DUI was a South Dakota native who received his DUIs within the state of South Dakota, it again brings up the question – how did Mr. Zeller possibly avoid these consequences? He likely didn’t have a “get out of jail free” card, but he probably had the next closest thing – an experienced DUI Lawyer. DUI lawyers are defense lawyers who specialize in helping clients who have been charged with DUIs. Although DUI charges can seem daunting on their own, experienced DUI lawyers can help you navigate the judicial process. 

California has some of the most strict DUI laws and punishments for drunk driving in the United States. Representing yourself is never your best option. Many California DUI attorneys, such as the Law Offices of Taylor & Taylor offer free consultations. You can get answers to your questions and legal advice from a trusted legal advocate for individuals facing criminal allegations.

Hiring a California DUI Attorney

Regardless of your situation, if the police arrest you for DUI, you need to talk with a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Waiting to speak with a lawyer can result in avoidable penalties, such as a suspended driver’s license. Legal representation will provide you with the highest odds of positive outcomes.

You should never go it alone when dealing with DUI charges. An experienced attorney can help you achieve far more positive consequences than are likely if you do not have the advice of legal counsel. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our expert California DUI attorneys. Contact us today by finding our office closest to you at this link.

SOURCES:

1 Comment read more

Can I Get A DUI In California If My Drink Is Spiked?


By Nedra Weiss

In the state of California, the legal limit for intoxication is .08%. This means that if you are pulled over and caught with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08% or higher, you will be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) offense. You may be subject to repercussions such as fines, jail time, or even worse consequences–such as human fatalities. That is why it is so important for each of us to know our own limits and take every precaution possible to ensure we do not drive while intoxicated.

But–what if you don’t know that you’re going to be intoxicated? What if you are unaware that someone has placed something in your glass, or has spiked your drink? How does that change things?

While it is unfortunate that this is something we even have to think about, the grim reality is that we do need to be vigilant of our consumption and intake when out drinking. Especially as a young woman, I know that I am more at-risk for spiked drinks than my male peers. With that being said, this once again begs the question–if someone else is responsible for your intoxication, where should the responsibility lie for any consequences derived from your intoxication?

Who’s Responsible?

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation here. You are at a bar with some friends after work and intend on only having one drink while you share some appetizers. For some, that one drink is enough to reach the legal limit of .08%, but for most, it is not. Should the unthinkable happen and someone spiked your drink, you may notice right away that something does not seem right. Feeling woozy, you excuse yourself from your party, announcing that you need to go home. As you get into your car, an officer notices you are fumbling with your keys and decides to follow you. You are inevitably pulled over, arrested, and charged with DUI. What is your recourse?

Can I be Held Liable?

In general, I personally do not think someone who is involuntarily intoxicated should be held directly responsible for the consequences of their intoxication. And no, by “involuntary intoxication,” I don’t mean being unaware of how quickly those six tequila shots were going to go straight to your head. Here’s my line of thought: Why should a person be punished for something that is completely out of their control? One of the quintessential reasons that driving under the influence is considered a crime is because we all know not to do it. We know the disastrous consequences that could occur should we dismiss our better judgment and drive while not 100% clear-headed.

The way I see it, getting a DUI is a choice. If you know you’re going to be drinking, be prepared. Make a plan. In today’s day and age, I can think of about a million ways to easily avoid the risk. With technology like rideshare apps and cell phones, there is no viable reason that we should ever choose to become inebriated and then proceed to operate a vehicle. However, what happens if you have that choice taken away from you?

Legal Standing if Your Drink was Spiked

When analyzing the legal scope of a person’s intoxication, the law is not as cut and dry as a personal or moral viewpoint. California Penal Code §26 (“PC §26”) outlines the guidelines as to who can be found capable of committing a crime under California law. Section Five of PC §26 states that, “[p]ersons who committed the act or made the omission charged through misfortune or by accident, when it appears that there was no evil design, intention, or culpable negligence [are incapable of being found to have committed the crime for which they have been charged].”

Put simply, the justice system focuses on the mental state and actual intentions of the acting parties. Under PC §26, one of the elements that the prosecution must demonstrate is the requisite mental state to commit the crime. In other words, the prosecution will do their best to try to prove that you wholly understood what you were doing and the consequences of your actions. However, if you are involuntarily intoxicated, you do not have control over that element. You literally don’t have the autonomy to make that decision, and thus possible consequences should be placed on the shoulders of the party who caused your involuntary intoxication.

Although there are currently no California cases that outline this exact situation, we may rely on similarly based cases until such a legal precedent has been established. If you have been charged with a California DUI based on similar circumstances within this post, reach out to our California DUI attorneys today to discuss the options available to you.

But until then: stay vigilant, don’t drink and drive, and don’t spike people’s drinks.

Sources:

People v. Mathson, 210 Cal. App. 4th 1297, 149 Cal. Rptr. 3d 167 (2012)
Cal. Penal Code § 26 (West)


Leave a comment read more

Mother and Daughter Killed in Fatal DUI Crash


At the beginning of this year, a mother and daughter were involved in a fatal car accident that cost them their life. The incident occurred Sunday, Jan 2, 2022 at approximately 10:30 a.m. near the intersection of Foster and Studebaker in Norwalk, California. Victims Shannon Alvarez, 50, and her 13-year-old daughter Ashely Alvarez were driving in a Chevrolet Camaro when they were suddenly struck by a Dodge Charger.

According to Lt. Brian Sanford of the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station, the woman driving the Dodge Charger, later identified as Brittany Lopez, 26, was traveling northbound at a dangerously high speed when she ran the red light and T-boned the victim’s vehicle. Emergency personnel transported Shannon Alvarez and Ashely Alvarez to a nearby hospital for medical treatment where they unfortunately succumbed to their injuries. Authorities determined Lopez was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the collision took place and took her into custody shortly after she was treated for her injuries. She was detained on vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license with a set bail of $50,000. Records show that the district attorney’s office refused to file charges against Lopez because further investigation was needed. She was released the following Tuesday morning.

If you have been charged with a DUI in California and want an expert to evaluate your case, the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor provide defense attorneys that are well-versed in various types of DUI cases and can ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.

Leave a comment read more

Off-Duty Sergeant Arrested on Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence


Just a few weeks before the new year, Sgt. Timothy Luke Everts was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The incident occurred on Friday, December 17th, 2021 at approximately 11:30 p.m. The LBPD confirmed that Sgt. Everts was attending a retirement party off duty, in his own vehicle, when he crashed into several parked cars near the intersection of East 8th Street and Coronado Avenue. According to investigative reports, a citizen called in about a driver in a white pickup truck passed out behind the wheel. When authorities arrived at the scene of the crime, Sgt. Everts was found unresponsive with a large life on his lap. Once he regained consciousness, he was uncooperative with the responding officers and refused to exit the vehicle. Consequently, the officers deployed tactical measures, including use of spoke strips, during the arrest incident. He was taken into custody at the Signal Hill jail and was released early Sunday morning.

Police officers who are arrested for driving under the influence will normally be subject to an internal investigation. Once the investigation is finished, the penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case, including whether the office was involved in an accident, if anyone was injured, whether the officer has prior DUIs, and whether the officer has other serious driving offenses on their record. The department’s policies will factor into the work-related penalties an officer might face. In most cases, the officer could face consequences such as dismissal, administrative leave, or having to complete a substance abuse treatment program.

The Long Beach Police Department made the following statement:

“Sergeant Everts was off duty, driving a personal vehicle at the time of the incident, was booked at the Signal Hill jail for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and was released on his own recognizance. Segreant Evert remains employed by the City of Long Beach. This is the only statement that will be provided regarding this incident, and we will not be providing further comment.”

Leave a comment read more