Yearly fatalities from California drunk driving crashes make up about 10% of the nationwide total. California is the third largest state in the country, with nearly 40 million people driving on an expansive network of highways every day. 

With so many drivers making long commutes each day, the number of car accidents is bound to be high. But, driving under the influence increases the chances of being in an auto collision. 

Though some people believe checkpoints are unconstitutional and go against the search and seizure protections provided by the Fourth Amendment, the California Supreme Court says checkpoints are legal when they are in the public interest. 

Law enforcement authorities in Vista, CA, state that the primary purpose of DUI checkpoints is to increase safety awareness and not specifically to look for drivers who are under the influence. The hope is that the presence of checkpoints will decrease traffic accidents by deterring people from driving if they have been drinking or using other substances. 

What Rules Must Police Follow At a DUI Checkpoint? 

In the landmark case of Ingersoll v. Palmer, California’s high court set rules that law enforcement agencies and representatives must follow to establish a legal checkpoint. 

Those rules are:

  • All safety precautions must be observed
  • Supervising officers make all operational decisions
  • Locations for checkpoints must be considered reasonable
  • Signage to indicate a checkpoint ahead must be displayed
  • Drivers can only be detained for a minimal amount of time
  • The time and hours of the checkpoint must be reasonable
  • The basis for stopping a motorist must be neutral and impartial
  • Checkpoints must be announced to the public in advance

If these rules are not followed, the checkpoint may not be considered legal. Failure of law enforcement to create a safe checkpoint could jeopardize citizens and result in catastrophic injury

What Rules Must Citizens Follow At a DUI Checkpoint?

It is legal to avoid a DUI checkpoint by turning your vehicle around. Keep in mind that you must still follow all traffic laws. If you make an illegal U-turn to avoid the checkpoint, an officer can pull you over under suspicion of driving while impaired. 

If you arrive at a California checkpoint, you must stop your vehicle and comply with all instructions from law enforcement. Refusal to stop or follow instructions may result in arrest for obstruction or DUI. However, you do not relinquish all of your rights.

Though you must follow directions, you also have the right to remain silent. You may refuse to allow a search of your vehicle, but officers can conduct a search if they have probable cause. If you have not been arrested, you may refuse any field sobriety tests. Keep in mind that you can still be arrested even without taking field tests.

If you have been arrested for DUI, refusing to take a breath or blood test could result in having your driver’s license suspended for one year. 

What To Do If You’ve Been Arrested At a DUI Checkpoint in Vista, California

The most important thing to do if you’ve been arrested at a Vista, CA, DUI checkpoint is to cooperate with law enforcement. Even if you believe there is a mistake or that you have been unjustly arrested, arguing with police officers will only cause more legal trouble. 

Document everything you can about the checkpoint. Was there signage? Was the checkpoint announced to the public? Contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can become to protect your rights.

Contact the North County Personal Injury Lawyers at Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the Vista personal injury law firm of Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in North County, CA and its surrounding areas:

Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers – Vista, CA Office
380 S Melrose Dr. Ste. 201
Vista, CA 92081

(619) 344-0360

Petrov Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers – Oceanside, CA Office
702 Civic Center Drive Ste. 105
Oceanside, CA, 92054

(619) 678-1016