Many people think it’s deceptive for police to disguise themselves
as citizens, hang out in bars while on duty, and arrest drunk drivers.
Similar to what the vice squad does, undercover police can head to the
bars on a Friday or Saturday night and monitor people inside, watching
as they consume alcohol.
Then, the officer quietly follows the unsuspecting bar patron out of the
establishment as they walk towards their vehicles, keys in hand. If someone
appears heavily intoxicated, the undercover officer can make a
DUI arrest if the person in the car registers .08%
blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or more on a breath test.
Bar Patrons Arrested by Undercover Cops
These law enforcement officers tend to arrest frustrated individuals who
don’t believe that undercover cops should be laying traps at bars.
The DUI suspect feels duped, especially when he or she spent part of the
evening “chatting up” the undercover cop.
Yet, the California Highway Patrol stands by this surreptitious method
of apprehension, arguing that its investigators have every right to conduct
routine undercover operations. California drivers don’t necessarily
agree, they generally prefer the police to be out in the open, where they
can be detected!
In the past, law enforcement officers have dressed as fast-food workers
at 24-hour drive-thrus and arrested drunk drivers who put in their late-night
orders and drove up to the window. They’ve also set up operations
at bars, restaurants, clubs, and anywhere else where alcohol is served.
Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control can set up these secret operations. But, they must show that the licensed
premises was the “place of last drink” for a DUI suspect to
build a solid case.
Arrested by an undercover officer?
If you’ve been arrested in an undercover
DUI operation, you should take your case to court. While most undercover operations
are legal, there may be times an arrest isn’t warranted. For example,
if the police were not told to disguise themselves and hide out at a bar
by the Department, you may have a valid defense.
Also, whether in uniform or not, police must arrest their suspects with
a code of conduct. If you were arrested with unnecessary force, or the
police didn’t follow proper protocol, you may be able to argue against
this as well.
Talk to an Orange County DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry,
Inc. to explore your defense strategy after an undercover DUI arrest!