In our last blog post, we provided an introduction to DUI sobriety checkpoints and the Ingersoll guidelines that govern their implementation. To recap, the following guidelines should be followed for a valid DUI checkpoint:
1. Decision making by supervising officers;
2. Limits on the discretion of field officers;
3. Maintenance of safety conditions;
4. Reasonable location;
5. Time and duration;
6. Indicia of official nature of roadblock;
7. Length and nature of detention;
8. Advance publicity.
An explanation of decision making by supervising officers, limits on the discretion of field officers, and length and nature of detention were discussed in our previous blog post DUI Checkpoint Laws - Part 1. This DUI blog post will discuss the other requirements.
Primary consideration must be given to public and officer safety when supervising officers decide where to place a DUI checkpoint. Safety factors include traffic patterns, street layout, and making the roadblock clearly visible to approaching drivers. The time and duration of the DUI checkpoint should reflect the officers' "good judgment." This means that there should be limitations when the checkpoint is to be conducted and for how long, keeping a balance between effectiveness and intrusiveness.
A reasonable location for the DUI checkpoint should be selected by policy making officials, based upon areas having a lot of DUI drivers as evidenced by a high incidence of alcohol-related accidents and/or arrests. A location cannot be selected simply on the basis that it is a busy roadway and there is a lot of drinking and driving on a particular day, such as a holiday. This would justify an infinite number of locations. The DUI checkpoint should clearly show its official nature so that approaching drivers can clearly see when they are approaching a law enforcement checkpoint. This can be evidenced by visibly marked police cars, warning lights, and signs.
The final guideline requires that law enforcement officials provide advance publicity as to when and where a DUI checkpoint will be conducted. This is effective in reducing the intrusiveness of the checkpoint and increasing its deterrent effect. Advance publicity can be given on law enforcement websites, in local newspapers, and on local television stations. However, failure to provide advance publicity alone, by itself, does not make the DUI checkpoint unconstitutional.
A question that frequently comes up when discussing DUI checkpoints is whether a driver can be detained, and possibly arrested, for avoiding a DUI checkpoint. As long as the driver can legally turn and take another route before reaching the DUI checkpoint, and it is safe to do so, they are not likely to be stopped by law enforcement officers. However, if a driver makes an illegal u-turn or violates another traffic law to avoid the DUI checkpoint it is likely that law enforcement will observe this and initiate a traffic stop.
If you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence after being stopped at a DUI sobriety checkpoint, CONTACT a good DUI Lawyer today. Berglund Law Office, P.C. specializes in representation of individuals arrested on suspicion of DUI. CONTACT DUI Lawyer Robert D. Berglund today for a free and confidential consultation.