DUI Checkpoint Legality
California law enforcement frequently uses DUI checkpoints as a means to prevent drunk driving in the community. The controlling case for DUI checkpoints in California is Ingersoll v. Palmer (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 1321, in which the California Supreme Court outlined eight factors that a court or the DMV should consider in deciding whether the checkpoint meets the constitutional standard.
What is important to remember is that there is no exact formula for determining whether a checkpoint is constitutionally valid – that is to say that sometimes only a few of the Ingersoll factors may be present, yet still provide enough of a “balance” to make a DUI checkpoint legal.
The following factors are evaluated in determining the constitutionality of a California DUI checkpoint:
Was the decision to establish the checkpoint done at a supervisory level?
Were there limitations on the discretion of the officers in the field?
Were safety conditions maintained?
Was the location reasonable?
Was the time and duration of the checkpoint appropriate?
Was there indicia of the official nature of the checkpoint?
Was the length and nature of the detention of motorists limited?
Was there advance publicity of the checkpoint?
Bear in mind that any analysis of the constitutionality of a checkpoint requires a balancing of the Ingersoll factors and an assessment of the reasonableness of these factors in relation to the search and/or seizure of motorists at the checkpoint. There is no perfect formula, but this information provides a basic outline for the law in California that governs DUI checkpoint stops.
So what should you do if arrested for DUI at a DUI Checkpoint?
Contact Us Immediately for a Free DUI Arrest Consultation. We will discuss your case circumstances, ask you questions and help you decide your Best DUI Defense Options — which could include challenging the legality of the DUI checkpoint itself.