Fight with DUI and Case Laws for a DUI Checkpoint Arrest

By otmseo on August 24, 2020

The San Francisco Appellate Department recently decided a case entitled People v. Alvaredo. The police stopped Alvarado at a DUI checkpoint. The police arrested him for DUI. His Attorney moved to suppress the evidence , including the breath test. Alvarado’s attorney argued the cops did not follow the procedures established by the California Supreme Court in Ingersoll v. Palmer for DUI checkpoints. The Trial court denied the Motion to Suppress.  The Appellate Department reversed the denial of the Motion to Suppress because three important and one not-so-important factors were missing.

What are the Ingersoll Factors?

The Ingersoll factors are:

First, whether command level law enforcement personnel made the decision to establish the checkpoint, the selection of the site, and the procedures for operation. Second, whether Police stop motorists according to a neutral formula. Third, whether the police took adequate safety precautions. Precautions like was there proper lighting, warning signs, and signals, and whether clearly identifiable official vehicles and personnel are used. Fourth, whether the location of the checkpoint was determined by a policymaking official, and was reasonable. Fifth, whether law enforcement used “good judgment” in establishing the time the checkpoint was conducted and its duration. Sixth, whether the checkpoint exhibits sufficient indicia of its official nature (to reassure motorists of the authorized nature of the stop). Seventh, whether the police ensure that the average length and nature of detention is minimized, and;(8) Whether the cops sufficiently publicized the checkpoint previously.

How Did the Appellate Department Decide?

The Court found that the San Francisco Police Department had not followed (1), (4), (7) and of lesser import (8)(Banks)*.  The Police did not establish the procedures to be used at a command level. They did not determine whether the location was beneficial for the purpose of deterrence.  They also did not minimize the length and nature of the detention. Finally, the cops failed to publicize the DUI checkpoint in advance.As a result of this, the Court held that the checkpoint was unconstitutional.

The Appellate Department also stated that the State seemed to put on no evidence even though they had access to the same factors. Even though the State had the burden of proof under Wilder.** As a result, the Court expressses bewilderment with the prosecution in its holding.

How Does This Apply to You?

Do your best to avoid being arrested at a DUI Checkpoint. You can do this by checking websites or apps like Mr. Checkpoint. The sites’ post the DUI checkpoints in your area.

The Supreme Court has held that people seeking to avoid a checkpoint cannot be stopped. However, if you violate the Vehicle Code in avoiding the checkpoint, the police can stop you for the violation. As a result, if you make a U-Turn in the middle of a block, which is illegal, the police can stop you.

If you are arrested, the way for you to fight your arrest at a DUI checkpoint is to know the law and know how to use the law to hold the police accountable for following proper procedure. If you’ve been arrested after being stopped at a DUI Checkpoint contact us at (213) 479-5322 to learn how we can fight and win your case for you.

* The Alvarado court properly points out that Banks does not do away with the necessity for advance publication of the checkpoint, it merely states that lack of advance publicity alone will not invalidate the checkpoint.

** Wilder holds that where there is a warrantless search the state bears the burden of proving the justify the search and seizure.

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