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What Do You Do At a DUI Checkpoint?

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Sep 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

With more of the COVID-19 restrictions easing in California and the East Bay, more cars are returning to the road. The police are also keeping an eye on drivers, watching for drivers who might be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Law enforcement in California are also continuing to set up sobriety checkpoints to deter drunk driving. 

DUI Checkpoints in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties

There have been a number of DUI checkpoints in Contra Costa County and Alameda County over the past couple of months, including: 

  • July 3, 2020, in Oakland, near Macarthur Boulevard and Richards Road
  • July 3, 2020, in Richmond, near Hilltop Drive and Robert Miller Drive
  • July 10, 2020, in Pittsburg, near Railroad Avenue and Leland Road
  • July 11, 2020, in Oakland, near Telegraph Avenue and 55th Street
  • July 31, 2020, in Richmond, near 23rd Street and Bissell Avenue
  • August 21, 2020, in Pittsburg near Railroad Avenue and Leland Road

The police departments generally publicize the area and date of an upcoming DUI/Driver's License checkpoint ahead of time, through a press release or even on their facebook pages. For example, the Pittsburg Police Department issued a press release on August 18th for the August 21st checkpoint, indicating the checkpoint would be around the 2500 block of Railroad Avenue between the hours of 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.

A few days later, the Pittsburg Police indicated 1,061 cars were contacted during the checkpoint, resulting in 2 DUI arrests, 28 drivers cited for operating without a valid license, 6 vehicles towed, and 3 other arrests. 

Are Checkpoints Legal in California?

DUI checkpoints are legal in California as long as they follow certain standards and regulations. California sobriety checkpoints are generally required to have neutral criteria for stopping cars, there must be safety precautions, drivers should be stopped only briefly, and the checkpoints should be publicized in advance.

Can I Turn Around to Avoid a Checkpoint?

As long as you are following traffic laws, you may be able to turn around if you see a checkpoint ahead. However, be careful when avoiding the checkpoint not to violate any traffic law or you may end up getting pulled over, this includes making an illegal U-turn or even failing to signal. 

Do I Have to Say Something to the Police?

During a DUI checkpoint, the police may ask for your license and proof of insurance. You are required to hand over these documents for inspection but you do not have to answer any of the officer's questions if you don't want to. You have the right to remain silent, and in some cases, it is in your best interest to remain silent until you can speak to your attorney. 

When the police are conducting a DUI checkpoint, they are looking for signs of possible impairment. They may ask if you've been drinking and your answer could mean the difference between getting arrested and going on your way. If you say you have not been drinking but the officer claims to smell alcohol or sees evidence of drinking inside the car, the police officer will likely ask you to pull over to the side where they will conduct a further investigation to determine if there is enough evidence to make an arrest. 

Call for Help After a DUI Checkpoint Arrest

If you were arrested during a DUI checkpoint in the East Bay, you need to act quickly to preserve your rights. Lynn Gorelick has the experience to help you keep your California driving privileges and resolve any criminal charges. Contact the local DUI lawyer who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 36 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.

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