Are California DUI Checkpoints Constitutional?
An unlawful DUI checkpoint contradicts the Fourth Amendment’s promise to protect “against unreasonable searches and seizures.” An unreasonable search can take place by stopping every vehicle without justifiable cause and without monitoring vehicles for DUI driving prior to trap and entry, remind the best San Diego DUI lawyers.
In Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz. 6 Supreme Court Justices asserted traffic checkpoints’ contributions to public safety made them reasonable. But that was 24 years ago. If the Court now reviewed the latest statistics on the effectiveness of these DUI stops, they best reconsider whether or not the true, minimal success rate makes these searches presently reasonable.
In San Diego, DUI cops waste a lot of time, coffee and donuts camping all night in a California DUI checkpoint when they could best be out patrolling the streets for unsafe, impaired DUI drivers. Just look at this example of a Big 4th of July weekend in the #1 DUI area in San Diego with a disproportionate number of drivers trapped vs. those actually arrested* for San Diego DUI.
Unlawful and Unnecessary Police Power
One citizen quietly filmed his stop at a July 4th checkpoint believed he knew his rights. Knowing one’s rights triggers police aggression and to the cops, it’s tantamount to criminal resistance. Reasonable questions were not answered by these DUI cops. The TN cops conduct a bogus search of the detained (but never officially stated as “detained”) vehicle.. After the cops found out the DUI stop was filmed, the driver was finally let go. Not once at the DUI checkpoint was he questioned about drinking alcohol. *Of the 250 vehicles passing through this DUI checkpoint, only 1 was arrested for Drunk Driving.
Unfairly & Unreasonably Going After Undocumented Immigrants
LA Weekly reports that checkpoints take in about $40 million in fines and seizures for California each year. Most of that money is not related to drunk driving charges. The largest amount of the money is generated from charges against undocumented immigrants without driver’s licenses. In 2009, California seized 24,000 vehicles at checkpoints yet made only 3,200 suspected DUI arrests.
What are police really looking for? If, California DUI checkpoint after California DUI checkpoint, cops get the same results (arresting people without proper papers exponentially over impaired drivers), is it really fair to call it a DUI/sobriety checkpoint when they seem to be doing something else? Is it a coincidence that most DUI checkpoints are conducted in neighborhoods with large Latino populations?
Expensive to Conduct
This California DUI checkpoint approach is mathematically senseless. San Diego DUI cops love it because they make overtime for eating lots of donuts & drinking coffee while arresting very few DUI criminals.
DUI drivers not effectively arrested
Statistics, when available, show the DUI checkpoints to be ineffective.
In California in 2008, police stopped more than 1,000,000 drivers at DUI checkpoints and considered only 0.3% to be potentially intoxicated.
· In 2007, less than 1% of the nearly 200,000 people subject to Drunk Driivng checkpoint stops in Pennsylvania were arrested.
· In a twelve-month period from 2010-11, West Virginia stopped 130,000 drivers yet made only 189 arrests from these operations. 97% of the state’s DUI arrests occurred outside of DUI checkpoints.