It’s the holiday season and time for law enforcement’s 5th Annual Maximum Enforcement Period and a larger police presence. Of course Christmas and New Year’s means parties and drinking.
Most readers do not realize the CV has more DUI FATALITIES…per capita, than anywhere else in California. Thus the Checkpoints and saturation patrols have to meet the proper lawful and constitutional protocols to succeed. The idea behind a saturation patrol is that a large number of law enforcement officers will “make their presence known” by conducting stops, targeting inebriated, distracted, aggressive and speeding drivers, as well as those with seatbelt or cell phone violations….the whole nine yards of traffic violations.
With a checkpoint, there is no need for an officer to have Probable Cause to stop you. Normally an officer must have a reason to pull you over. At a sobriety checkpoint anybody can be stopped and requested to take a breath test and produce ID and license. However, this does not mean that if you have failed a breath test or a sobriety test at a checkpoint, all your rights have been compromised. There are procedures and guidelines that all officers at a checkpoint must follow for a DUI test to be held valid.
Because of the large number of people attending parties, dining out and driving, the odds are in the favor of the police that a good percentage of the drivers will have had a drink. Once the officer has probable cause or a reason to stop the driver, then if they smell alcohol they can investigate further. If they see a bag of drugs or a gun on the seat, they can likewise look into the propriety of an arrest for those charges.
When stopped the impaired driver usually makes many mistakes. They are not aware, unless they read my weekly legal column, that the field sobriety and breath test at the scene are optional. Thus you do not have to take the walk the line, finger to nose, reciting the alphabet backwards and other so called sobriety tests. Likewise the breath test at the scene (unless you are on probation) is optional.
A driver stopped and offered DUI tests should be cooperative and politely say that their attorney is Dale Gribow and he has advised the driver not to talk without calling Gribow at 760- 837- 7500 for permission. They should explain that “they have been advised these Field Sobriety Tests and the breath test at the scene are optional. If that is correct Officer, then I elect not to take them. Then explain that you are happy to cooperate with law enforcement and take a blood test.”
To sum up, with a DUI stop the Officer asks the driver to exit the vehicle & asks questions. Most drivers (and lawyers) don’t know the Breath Test and Field Sobriety Test (FST) at the scene are OPTIONAL. These tests can only hurt the driver’s case.
It is arguable that taking a Blood Test at the police station or hospital is preferable. Many believe with the passage of time the reading will decrease by the time the blood is drawn………..unless the driver just chugged a drink and the alcohol had not yet gotten into the blood system. The average driver is not aware that it takes about an hour for the alcohol to go into your blood stream and about an hour to come out…………but now YOU DO!
I look upon my job as protecting the Constitutional Rights of every American who drinks and drives and gets arrested for a DUI. I do however “Change Hats” when I SUE Drunk Drivers for damages to my Injured or Deceased (Wrongful Death) clients.
“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life 2011-2018 (DUI)
“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine Nov ’16
10.0 AVVO Perfect Peer Rating