Labor Day Brings More DUI Checkpoints; Do You Know Your Rights?

Orange County, CA- The last blast is this weekend, the kids may be back at school, but there’s still time for a last three-day weekend. Time for that last barbeque and vacation before fall sets in. Labor Day, like any American holiday, is a time to take road trip, visit friends and

Police expect people to be drinking and driving and this Labor Day and Orange County police will be out in force. There will be more cops on the road and don’t be surprised to run across a DUI checkpoint or two. Chances are you will so it’s pertinent you know what your rights are. This can mean the difference between a night in jail and a DUI charge, or spending the night in your own bed.

First of all, police have the right to stop you. Although, there is some question about the constitutionality of checkpoints, the Supreme Court established checkpoints are legal and not an infringement on your rights. And these checkpoints, because they are effective, have become a standard drunken driving enforcement tool.

The state of California requires law enforcement to notify the public when and where a sobriety checkpoint will be set up. You can find that information online.

When you run across a checkpoint you can avoid it. There is no law against turning down a different road or making a U-turn. You have the right to avoid unwarranted police contact.

You can still get pulled over. Law enforcement agencies, sometimes, use patrol officers to chase down and stop drivers who evaded a checkpoint. Their assumption is that you’re doing something illegal by trying to evade a checkpoint

If you missed the sign or there was not escape route then you have to be ready to speak to police. They will ask you for your license and will ask you’ve had anything to drink. This can be a conundrum; if you answer in the affirmative, then they have probable cause to detain you, and determine if you are, in fact, intoxicated.

It’s better to say nothing than to lie. So, don’t lie about anything regardless of how insignificant you think the information is. Remember your Miranda rights; everything you say can be used against you in a court of law. Make that your mantra. It’s not lying if you remain silent.

Your California DUI attorney can assert that right in your defense, and give you a fighting chance of avoiding conviction. If you lie and the police find out you lied, your credibility will be undermined and you DUI defense rendered ineffective because you’ve been branded a “liar.”

Be polite. No one wants to be pulled over by the police, but being rude to an officer will get you nowhere, it could very well get you into more trouble. Once you’ve told police you have the right to NOT answer their questions, don’t allow them to provoke you. It’s important to remember they are taught how to interrogate people to get a confession out of them.

If they insist you take field sobriety tests and preliminary alcohol screening tests such as a hand-held breathalyzer, you don’t have to, but refusing them has different set of consequences. The only test you are required to submit to in California is a chemical test. Refusing a blood test or breath test can result in fines and a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.

Knowing your rights and asserting them at a checkpoint or during a traffic stop will give your Orange County DUI attorney an advantage when crafting your defense.  Your actions at a checkpoint can change your future for the worst so be smart. Know your rights!