The month of May brings warmer weather to the East Bay, and signals summer vacation is just around the corner. For the residents of Fremont, May will also bring a DUI checkpoint to town. On Saturday, May 9th, sometime between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m., the Fremont Police Department will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint at an undisclosed location in town.
In most cases, police need to have a reason to pull you over. This could be from a traffic violation like speeding, running a stop sign, or even a broken taillight. However, with DUI checkpoints in California, the police can randomly stop cars and briefly talk to drivers to try and determine if they are under the influence of alcohol. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that checkpoints are legal, balancing the public interest and the limited degree of intrusion. Checkpoints have been deemed an “administrative procedure” rather than a criminal police stop.
Also known as sobriety checkpoints, or roadblocks, the police must follow certain guidelines when stopping cars. This includes a reasonable time and place for the checkpoint, neutral criteria for stopping drivers, and generally should be publicized in advance. Fremont police, and other police departments across the East Bay regularly make use of DUI checkpoints as a way to keep drunk drivers off the road, and to deter others from drinking and driving.
It may seem counterintuitive for the Fremont Police to let everyone know ahead of time that they will be conducting a DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint, but according to the NHTSA, the greatest deterrent impact involves consistent, highly publicised and regular checkpoints. Publicising the checkpoint will also allow drivers to stay home to avoid being inconvenienced by the traffic disruptions.
According to the Fremont Police press release, “the deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes. Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.” The last DUI checkpoints by the Fremont Police Department Traffic Unit were in December of last year.
During the checkpoint, officers may speak to the driver, while observing whether there are any indicators of impairment, including the smell of alcohol or marijuana; blood-shot eyes; slurred speech; or even the driver admitting to drinking alcohol. Based on their observations, if they suspect a driver is impaired, they may do further investigation to see if they have probable cause to arrest the driver.
If you get stopped at the Fremont checkpoint and are arrested for a DUI, make sure you have the contact information for your East Bay DUI defense lawyer. You don't want to have to walk into the Fremont Criminal Court alone to face your DUI charges. You need a lawyer familiar with the Fremont Police Department officers, Fremont Judges, and local prosecutors.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with driving under the influence in the East Bay. Lynn Gorelick has over 30 years of DUI experience, and understands the penalties involved. If you get stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Fremont, or anywhere in the East Bay, don't let your arrest end in a conviction. You have a chance to keep the conviction off your record, and keep your driving privileges. You do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. Contact a local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands local DUI laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve.