Are Sobriety Checkpoints legal?


This is a great question.  We talk all the time about our 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause, yet with a checkpoint we’re basically forced down a path which inherently leads to an unintended encounter with law enforcement.  How could this be legal?  How can we be forced, without ever having done anything wrong, to be stopped and questioned about your ability to drive your vehicle.

The California Supreme Court has laid out very strict guidelines for law enforcement to follow when conducting a DUI checkpoint, as illustrated in the Ingersoll v. Palmer case.   Some of the requirements are things like: notice to the public through a published media outlet, there must be officers present who are “command officers”, and vehicles must be chosen in a random mathematical manner.

This short list of requirements is by no means exhaustive, and it is important to have your case reviewed by a qualified DUI attorney so that every facet of how your experience with a DUI checkpoint can be investigated and reviewed for potential violations.

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