California DUI Checkpoints

DUI Checkpoint Sign

Sobriety checkpoints, otherwise known as DUI checkpoints are areas where law enforcement sets up to systematically stop and check drivers in hopes of nabbing drunk and drugged drivers in the act. In addition to intoxicated drivers, law enforcement also uses checkpoints to catch people driving on a suspended or revoked license and people with a warrant out for their arrest.

Are DUI checkpoints legal? According to, “The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints in 1990. If conducted properly, sobriety checkpoints do not constitute illegal search and seizure in most states.” Currently, most states allow DUI checkpoints, including California. However, eleven states prohibit them, including Texas, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Legal Requirements for Stopping

“Are there any legal requirements for stopping at a DUI checkpoint in California?” Under Section 2814.2(a) of the California Vehicle Code it reads, “A driver of a motor vehicle shall stop and submit to a sobriety checkpoint inspection by a law enforcement agency when signs and display are posted requiring that stop.”

“Can I turn away from a DUI checkpoint?” We do not recommend it. As you can see from Sec. 2814.2, you are legally required to stop. Even if you make a legal U-turn, more than likely the police up ahead will notice you turn around and they’ll send a chase car to go after you and pull you over. This is because by turning away, you look guilty.

If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, the officers will be looking for the following clues, which may indicate impairment:

  • You refuse to cooperate.
  • The odor of alcohol on your breath.
  • You’re slurring your words.
  • You have red, bloodshot eyes.
  • You’re fumbling for your license and registration.
  • An open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

Related: How to Behave During a DUI Stop

In addition to the above, the officers will look for other signs of illegal activity, such as the smell of marijuana (which could indicate driving under the influence of the drug), drug paraphernalia and illegal drugs, expired registration, a bench warrant for your arrest, and a suspended or revoked driver license.

Arrested at a DUI checkpoint in Orange County? Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free consultation.

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