Do you know what the police look for when they are on patrol for drunk drivers at DUI checkpoints? San Diego police are conducting checkpoint throughout the holiday season. Read more from San Diego drunk driving lawyer Virginia L. Landry to learn how to best protect yourself from being asked to step out of your car when you get stopped at DUI checkpoints. San Diego will conduct a number of these throughout the holiday season.
If you come across a checkpoint the first thing the officer looks for is whether you try to evade the checkpoint in some way. This may include making a sudden u-turn, pulling over to the side of the road and refusing to drive forward to the checkpoint, or stopping before proceeding to the checkpoint. All of these driving actions are likely to give the officer a reasonable suspicion to investigate you more thoroughly than they otherwise may have. When you see a checkpoint ahead you should slow down and approach it carefully watching for police and other pedestrians walking in your lane of travel
The second thing the officer looks for at a DUI checkpoint is whether you and others in your vehicle are wearing your seatbelt, and whether you appear to be moving around inside the vehicle more than normal. Police call movements inside your vehicle as you are being stopped “furtive movements.” Furtive movements - for the sake of simplicity - are simply movements that make the officer think you are hiding something. This may include reaching into the glovebox, under your seat, or turning around to reach or put something in the back seat. You should never reach around in your vehicle for anything until you come to a complete stop and the officer asks you for documentation.
The third thing the officer looks for at a checkpoint is the odor of alcohol when you roll your window down. Smells stay trapped inside a vehicle. When you roll your window down those odors come pouring out. Officer’s will often lean close to the window so they can better detect the odor of alcohol. You may roll your window down as you approach the checkpoint if your passenger’s have been consuming alcohol. Doing this may allow some of the odor to dissipate before you are approached by the police in person.
The next thing the officer looks for is whether you can properly respond to his questions and provide appropriate answers. The officer may ask you where you are coming from or headed to, and may ask you to provide documents such as your license, insurance and registration. Officers are trained to ask you for several things at once in order to better detect whether you can divide your attention effectively. You should pay close attention to what the officer tells you to do, as well as what documents he requests of you. If you become confused you should politely inform the officer that you are trying to cooperate, but ask him to slow down and allow you to complete the tasks he has asked you to perform before asking you to complete more tasks.
Finally, the officer will see whether you act as he would expect someone who is stopped at a checkpoint to act. He will look to see if you are responsive to his questions, unusually angry, or unusually cooperative. There is no magic formula here. Most of this is left to the officer’s discretion. It is best to remain cooperative and polite throughout your encounter with the officer.
A lot goes on during DUI checkpoints. San Diego police and Sheriff’s deputies have a responsibility to act professionally, and follow the strict protocols established for the checkpoint. Failure by the police to follow their procedures can result in a checkpoint arrest case being dismissed. San Diego drunk driving lawyer Virginia L. Landry is ready to help you should you be arrested for a DUI. Contact her for a free case evaluation.