Law enforcement officers in the state of California are legally allowed to set up checkpoints to find motorists who are driving under the influence (DUI). These DUI checkpoints are considered constitutional.
However, drivers do have a number of rights when it comes to DUI checkpoints. Go over these rights today with the legal professionals at the Simmrin Law Group.
Right to Avoid a DUI Checkpoint in California
Drivers in California are legally allowed to detour around a DUI checkpoint if they can do so without breaking a law. This means that, if a driver spots a DUI checkpoint ahead, they may turn onto a side street or turn around to take a different route.
Legally, a law enforcement officer cannot arrest a driver just for avoiding a DUI checkpoint. However, drivers who break the law to get away from the checkpoint may be arrested. For example, any of the following actions could lead to an arrest:
- Making an illegal U-turn
- Turning into oncoming traffic
- Driving onto a sidewalk
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Right to Avoid Self-Incrimination at DUI Checkpoints
Drivers maintain their Fifth Amendment rights during DUI checkpoint stops. This means they have the right not to answer questions that would directly incriminate them, such as:
- Have you been drinking?
- How many drinks did you have?
- Did you just come from a bar?
However, drivers should maintain a polite demeanor while at a DUI checkpoint. Arguing with a law enforcement officer can worsen a driver’s legal situation.
Rights Associated with DUI Testing in California
Law enforcement officers may request drivers to complete field sobriety testing or chemical tests if they believe an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers are legally required to go along with these tests if they are:
- Under 21
- On DUI probation
- Legally arrested
However, drivers have the legal right to decline field sobriety tests and preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) tests in some cases. Note that declining to complete these assessments could lead to a DUI arrest. Once arrested, drivers must comply with all chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) testing and other assessments.
Failure to comply with legally ordered DUI testing can have serious legal consequences. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can revoke a driver’s license for up to one year for a refusal to complete a legal DUI assessment in Los Angeles.
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Right to a Properly Operated DUI Checkpoint
DUI checkpoints must be operated in accordance with specific legal guidelines in California. Drivers have a right to expect these checkpoints to meet all legal requirements. This means that a checkpoint must:
- Have a supervising officer to handle operational decisions
- Stop motorists based on neutral criteria
- Be located in a reasonable place
- Take safety precautions that are adequate to the situation
- Show good judgment in duration and time
- Indicate sufficiently that it is official
- Detain drivers for a minimal amount of time
- Provide advance notice to the public regarding roadblocks
Any arrests made at DUI checkpoints that fail to meet these legal requirements could later be overturned. These guidelines were set up by the state of California to keep DUI checkpoints fair and responsibly operated.
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Rights After an Arrest at a DUI Checkpoint
Drivers have rights even if they are arrested at a DUI checkpoint. Drivers should be:
- Read their Miranda rights before they are questioned
- Treated humanely during the arrest process
Mistreatment or abuse by a law enforcement officer can violate a driver’s rights during an arrest at a DUI checkpoint. Additionally, drivers charged with a DUI have the right to contact a legal representative. Working with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles is often vitally important for drivers facing DUI charges.
DUI Lawyers Help Protect Driver’s Rights
Law enforcement officers and prosecutors focus on securing a conviction after a DUI arrest in Los Angeles. Fortunately, drivers do not have to try to stand up to these individuals on their own. Help is available right now from DUI lawyers in Los Angeles. Legal professionals can:
- Ensure a driver’s rights are respected during legal questioning
- Monitor any police investigation to make sure they operate within their legal bounds
- Protect a driver’s rights when looking over potential plea bargains
Getting legal help quickly after an arrest at a DUI checkpoint can increase a driver’s odds of successfully resolving DUI charges in California.
Speak to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
You can get professional help on your side now if you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint in California. Focus on protecting your rights in this situation by working with the Simmrin Law Group. Complete our online contact form or call (310) 997-4688 to reach us now.
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