Pasadena DUI Checkpoints


While controversial, and not legally accepted in every state, Pasadena DUI checkpoints are permissible under California law and conducted in communities throughout the state. DUI checkpoints are frequently used by law enforcement agencies operating in the Pasadena area, and these agencies rely on checkpoints to generate multiple DUI arrests pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) and California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) every weekend.

In a typical Pasadena Drunk Driving investigation, law enforcement officers must have a legal justification in order to stop a vehicle. Officers tend to rely on observed traffic and/or equipment violations of the California Vehicle Code.

Pasadena DUI sobriety checkpoints differ because they remove the probable cause needed to justify a traffic stop, and theoretically allow officers to stop any vehicle entering the checkpoint. However, the California Supreme Court in Ingersoll v. Palmer established certain guidelines that must be adhered to when conducting a Pasadena DUI checkpoint. If these criteria are not met, the resulting DUI charge may be legally invalid.

Pasadena DUI checkpoints are usually conducted during the evening hours, from 8:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M., when incidents of Drunk Driving in Pasadena are believed to be most frequent. These have to be held in areas that have proved in the past to generate a high concentration of Pasadena DUI arrests, such as Colorado Boulevard and Old Town Pasadena.

At a Pasadena DUI checkpoint, the law enforcement officer conducting the checkpoint may only ask a driver a few of questions to determine if the indicia of intoxication, such as slurred speech or the odor of alcohol on the breath, is present. The officer will also be looking for items such as open containers of alcohol in the vehicle.

If the Pasadena DUI checkpoint officer finds no objective reason to suspect the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she will allow that driver to pass through the checkpoint. However, if the officer concludes that the driver exhibits one or more indicia of intoxication, the driver will be stopped and sent to a separate area where a compete Pasadena DUI investigation may be conducted.

The California Supreme Court has described specific criteria which must be adhered to for a Pasadena DUI checkpoint to be deemed valid. First, the Pasadena DUI checkpoint must be overseen by a supervising officer, and not a field officer. The supervising officer must carefully decide the specific time and location of the Pasadena DUI checkpoints in order to guarantee that the checkpoint is conducted at a location that has experienced an unusually high amount of DUI arrests or traffic collisions involving DUI. Additionally, the supervising officer must establish a clear and unbiased method to conduct the Pasadena DUI checkpoint; such as checking every third car, every car, etc.

The Pasadena DUI checkpoint must be reasonably located. In addition to being in a location that has a past abundance of DUI arrests and/or drunk driving accidents, the supervising officer must make certain not to impede the safety of drivers, officers and pedestrians in selecting a checkpoint location.

Finally, a Pasadena DUI checkpoint must be "visible," meaning that the existence of the checkpoint cannot be secret and must be advertised publicly in advance of the checkpoint. Local law enforcement typically relies on law enforcement websites and local media to publicize a checkpoint before it is initiated.

Visibility also means that the Pasadena DUI checkpoint must be physically visible to approaching vehicles. Law enforcement officers will often meet this criteria by using warning signs, flashing lights, bright lighting, marked police vehicles and uniformed officers during the Pasadena DUI checkpoint.

Many people are surprised to learn that it is perfectly legal to drive around a Pasadena DUI checkpoint if they do not wish to go through it. Those electing to simply turn around or otherwise avoid a Pasadena DUI checkpoint cannot be legally stopped unless a law enforcement officer observes a violation of the California Vehicle Code or obvious signs of intoxication.

However, law enforcement tends to set up Pasadena DUI checkpoints in locations that evasion of the checkpoint requires a driver to violate other traffic laws, such as making an illegal U-turn of crossing a double yellow line. Additional officers are typically stationed at the edges of a Pasadena DUI checkpoint precisely to catch drivers who seem to be avoiding the checkpoint.

Because of the many legal nuances inherent with DUI cases arising out of sobriety checkpoints, you need an aggressive Pasadena DUI defense attorney on your side.

Pasadena DUI Checkpoint Attorney Michael Kraut is highly skilled at handling Pasadena Drunk Driving charges specifically arising out of Pasadena DUI Checkpoint operations. Mr. Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney who was assigned as a senior trial deputy to the Pasadena Courthouse. He has handled cases of this nature from both sides and is highly respected by prosecutors and law enforcement officials in Pasadena. Mr. Kraut understands the precise guidelines that law enforcement must adhere to in conducting Pasadena DUI checkpoints and the fatal effect that missing even one element could have on the People's case. He fights hard to ensure his clients have the best representation possible.

For more information about Pasadena DUI Checkpoints, and to schedule your free consultation, contactPasadena DUI Checkpoint Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 626-345-1899.

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