DUI Checkpoints in Sacramento County The Do's and Don'ts

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July 03, 2017

DUI Checkpoint Information for Sacramento, CA

The 4th of July is known for getting together with family and celebrating our nation's Independence Day. However, this celebration can quickly turn into a nightmare if you run into a Sacramento DUI checkpoint and are charged with a Driving Under the Influence Penalty. This article is not an endorsement of drinking and driving on the 4th of July; you should always to have a designated driver, no matter how little you intend on drinking. Rather, the purpose of this article is to inform you of your legal rights should you run into a DUI checkpoint in Sacramento on the 4th of July, regardless of whether you've drank any alcohol.

DUI Checkpoint Demeanor - Remain Calm

If you watch the news, you'll likely catch a story concerning police misconduct. However, in my experience reading thousands of police reports, most police officers are not "out to get you." In fact, it's quite the opposite. Police officers are human like the rest of us and understand that people like to have a good time with their family on the 4th of July. With that in mind, it's important that you remain calm upon seeing the signs for the Sacramento DUI checkpoint, as well as when you make contact with any police officers.

This piece of advice is particularly important if you make the decision to not enter the checkpoint. Police officers have the right to stop you if you commit a traffic violation while avoiding entrance to the checkpoint, so the last thing you want to do is make any erratic movements with your vehicle in an attempt to avoid entering the checkpoint. In fact, police agencies generally have officers stationed near the checkpoint exit to monitor for traffic violations.

General Setup of a DUI Checkpoint in Sacramento

In order to be constitutionally valid, the police agency performing a sobriety checkpoint in Sacramento County must meet numerous requirements. Regardless of whether you've drank or not, take mental note of the following:

  • Are there any signs announcing the presence of a checkpoint posted in advance of the checkpoint?
  • Is there a way to exit the checkpoint before entering it?
  • How many officers are at the checkpoint?
  • How frequently are the officers stopping cars at the checkpoint?
  • How long does it take to get through the checkpoint?

DUI Checkpoint Laws - Remember Your Right to Remain Silent

Both the location and administration of Sacramento DUI Checkpoints are planned in advance. In fact, there are numerous resources that can be found online that provide past and future checkpoint locations across Sacramento County. Part of this planning also includes an objective formula that must be used by officers in the field when deciding who to stop within the checkpoint. Typically, it is every third or fourth car. However, the rate at which cars are stopped may shift depending on the flow of traffic. In other words, you may or may not even be stopped while passing through the checkpoint. If you do get stopped, however, remember that you do not have any obligation to speak to the police.

Field Sobriety Tests are Optional

You do not have to complete any of the Field Sobriety Tests; they are completely optional. This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one leg stand field sobriety tests, among others. Most importantly, this includes the Preliminary Alcohol Screening device (a breathalyzer administered before an arrest). Be sure to distinguish between field sobriety tests and the DUI Chemical Test, though. Assuming that you are properly advised under VC 23612, you are required to submit to a chemical test after being arrested. Refusal to submit to a chemical test can result in enhanced DMV and criminal punishment.

Contact a Sacramento DUI Attorney

If you're arrested for a DUI upon entering a DUI Checkpoint, be sure to Contact Sacramento DUI Lawyer, Ryan T. Kocot. Checkpoint cases tend to be a bit more complicated than the typical DUI case, so it is important that you consult with someone who is well versed in not only DUI law, but someone who knows the ins and outs of attacking DUI checkpoints.

©NorCal Criminal Defense 2017