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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog

For 2014, Expect More DUI Checkpoints... and more!

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Apr 01, 2014 | 0 Comments

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) awarded over $13 million in grants to various cities for the express purpose of funding DUI Checkpoints throughout 2014. Among the recipients in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties are Oakland, Fremont, Concord, Pittsburg,and Brentwood.

That said, when law enforcement authorities set up a checkpoint, they must base their decision on where to place the checkpoint on a number of factors, including the number of prior DUI arrests in that location. The presence of the checkpoint must be announced to the public in advance, it must be clearly marked, and there must be a clearly marked EXIT.

If you find yourself in a DUI checkpoint, you must provide identification and a valid proof of automobile insurance if you are asked to do so. While you can refuse to do any Field Sobriety Tests (FST's) or blow into the small, hand-held breath machine or PreliminaryAlcohol Screening (PAS) device, the Implied Consent law (Calif. Vehicle Code §23612)states:

A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153.

Although each type of test – blood or breath – has its advantages and its disadvantages, you should know that the breath machine does not keep a sample of your breath for retesting later. In contrast, a sample of your blood is kept for later retesting. But remember: you must submit to one or the other, once you have been placed under arrest.

One interesting development is now taking place in Los Angeles. The City Attorney's Office there has announced they plan on using a new oral swab on people suspected of DUI. This swab will test for the presence of substances such as marijuana, as well as drugs like cocaine. The oral swabs used in these tests are currently being used by Fullerton,Sacramento, and Bakersfield DUI stops. The reliability of these swabs, and the interpretation of the test results are likely going to be hotly debated as these cases begin to make their way through the court system. A lot of drug testing will test for the broken down metabolites of drugs after they have been processed through your body. Hence, the active ingredient that causes the euphoria or “high” has already been processed and is no longer effective in your blood stream.

Since California DUI law requires your driving to be impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time you are driving, it seems unlikely that a test that measures the waste material of a drug - instead of the active ingredient - is the most reliable form of testing.

Drivers who are stopped and asked to submit to this type of swab test should know that these tests are voluntary, and there are no legal penalties for refusing to take the test. If you are arrested, however, there are penalties for refusing to take the breath or blood test.

If you are stopped at any checkpoint within Alameda or Contra Costa counties, you can call the Gorelick Law Offices twenty-four hours a day, or contact us through this website for a free consultation.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for 30 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense.

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