Fisher Law Office

Don't let a police checkpoint block your right to a defense

As a California motorist, it's easy to take certain things at surface value while traveling, including various legal situations that may place your freedom at risk. Rather than research ahead of time and obtain clear understanding of traffic laws, as well as what rights you have, you may be one of many who fall into the habit of presuming that if police officers are making a stop and conducting investigations, they are doing so lawfully because they are the police and know what's legal and what isn't.

The problem here is that you must also take into account that police are just as capable of human error or unlawful behavior as you or anyone. This is why it's crucial to do your own homework and not just take things for granted and assume that if a police officer is doing it, it must be okay. For instance, there are many things that can happen at a police sobriety checkpoint that could violate your rights. By researching this ahead of time, you may avert a problem later.

Be alert and know the law regarding DUI roadblocks

When police set up roadblocks for the purpose of conducting sobriety checks on drivers passing through a particular area, it often changes the course of a person's life when least expected. If you are merely commuting to work or traveling to visit a friend, run errands, etc., and wind up facing DUI charges because of something that happens at a police checkpoint, you may face a tremendous challenge in trying to avoid conviction. The following information may be useful to your quest:

  • Police typically set up roadblocks to conduct random sobriety checks when timing and circumstances suggest the possibility of an increased number of motorists who may be driving under the influence of alcohol. Such times and locations might include sporting events, special holiday weekends or closing times at local bars or nightclubs.
  • An officer cannot merely approach your vehicle, tell you to get out of the car and request that you submit to a field sobriety test unless he or she has reason to believe you may be legally intoxicated.
  • Once you do comply with a police officer's request to step out of your vehicle, consider yourself detained. This means you may not exit the scene unless the police officer gives you permission to do so.
  • Not every state employs use of police sobriety checkpoints although approximately 37 states do, including California.

A police officer does not have free rein at a DUI roadblock or anywhere to say or do whatever he or she pleases in order to make an arrest. By paying close attention to all that happens if police stop you at a sobriety checkpoint and knowing how to access immediate legal assistance, you may be able to mitigate your circumstances if prosecutors file DUI charges against you.

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Fisher Law Office

1322 Morro Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-4028

Phone: 805-706-0205
Fax: 805-542-0464
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