Should the police give advance notice of DUI checkpoints?

Posted by Chris Morales on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 @ 05:16 PM

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In 1987 the California Court of Appeal dealt with the issue: whether sobriety checkpoints are permissible under the federal and state Constitutions. They concluded that sobriety checkpoints conducted in accordance with certain guidelines were permissible under the United States and California constitutions. One of those guidelines is advance publicity of the DUI checkpoint.

     The court in Ingersoll (43 Cal. 3d 1321) used the Burlingame sobriety checkpoint as a model for what would be permissible for future checkpoints.

    Advance Publicity is one main factor reviewed in Ingersoll because the suit was brought by tax payers who claimed that sobriety checkpoints were intrusive and they created traffic. Justice Broussard wrote the sole dissenting opinion in which he stated, "motorists have a considerable and legitimate expectation of privacy in the automobile, including an expectation of freedom of movement. Id. at 1351.

    The majority found that the Burlingame sobriety checkpoint met the standard of advance publicity because there was a "sign announcing the checkpoint" and it "was posted sufficiently in advance of the checkpoint location," which allowed "motorists to turn aside, and under the operation guidelines no motorist was to be stopped merely for choosing to avoid the checkpoint." Id. at 1327. Therefore, “advance publicity is important to the maintenance of a constitutionally permissible sobriety checkpoint.” Id. at 1347. What the court did not determine is how much advance notice must be given so police departments sometimes release the information 30 minutes prior to enforcement and they’ll publish the information in a secret or private news wire, just like we saw in San Francisco for labor day weekend.

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Tags: police officers, drugs, DUI, San Francisco Criminal Attorney, San Francisco DWI lawyer, San Francisco Crime Lab, DWI, San Francisco DUI attorney