DUI Checkpoints

DUI Checkpoints

DUI checkpoints are common during the summer and holidays.

DUI checkpoints driving under the influence DWIFind local DUI Checkpoints at:


Santa Barbara Sheriff

5 Rules For DUI Checkpoints.

  1. Police usually warn of checkpoints.
  2. You can turn around at DUI checkpoints.
  3. If you avoid a checkpoint, police can pull you over if:
    • You drive illegally*.
    • You show signs of intoxication.
  4. Officers must systematically stop vehicles.
    • The police must stop cars in a consistent pattern (IE: every third car).
  5. You can contest your DUI charge by challenging the legality of the checkpoint.

What happens at DUI Checkpoints?

DUI checkpoints
DUI checkpoints can be illegal. Contact an attorney to challenge DUI checkpoints.
  1. Remain calm and comply with the officer’s instructions.
    • One of the first signs of impairment is failure to follow instructions.
  2. You do not have to admit that you have been drinking.
  3. You can refuse to do sobriety tests.
    • However, you can still be arrested for suspected DUI.
  4. A urine sample will be taken if both blood and breath analyzers are unavailable.
  5. Refusal to give a blood, breath, or urine sample results in:
    • Minimum 1 year license suspension.
      • If there was probable cause to suspect DUI.
    • Pending DUI charges.
      • Mandatory prison time if convicted.
    • Fine.

Challenge DUI Checkpoints

Ingersoll v. Palmer:

  1. Decision-making by Supervisors
    • Decisions should be made by supervisors and not by an officer in the field.
  2. Limits on Field Officers
    • A neutral formula such as every driver or every third, fifth or tenth driver should be employed.
  3. Maintain Safety 
    • The checkpoint should minimize the risk of danger to motorists and police.
  4. Reasonable Location
    • Officers on the street do not select location. Supervisors chose sites in order to reduce alcohol related accidents and/or arrests.
  5. Time and Duration
    • Short day-time searches are less intrusive.
  6. Signs of Official Roadblock
    • Warning signs, flashing lights, lighting, police vehicles and the presence of uniformed officers.
  7. Length and Nature of Detention
    • Long enough for brief questioning and to look for signs of intoxication. Signs include alcohol on the breath, slurred speech, and glassy or bloodshot eyes.
  8. Advance Publicity
    • Notice to the public is important for a constitutional checkpoint.

*Examples of illegal driving include failing to signal, crossing a double-yellow line, and making an improper u-turn.