Acquiring a Detention for Avoiding a DUI Checkpoint


Regarding any driver’s right to avoid the stop, Ingersoll v. Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321 stated the following:

Checkpoint personnel were specifically instructed that drivers were not to be stopped merely for avoiding the checkpoint. The road sign announcing the checkpoint was placed sufficiently in advance of the checkpoint that motorists could choose to avoid the checkpoint.

Id., at 1336 A footnote added:

Cars avoiding the checkpoint would be stopped, however, if in avoiding the checkpoint the driver did anything unlawful, and/or exhibited obvious signs of impairment.

Id., fn 5.

Later in the Ingersoll opinion, the court again mentioned the escape route system used in the roadblock in that case. The court did not state unequivocally that such an escape route is necessary for constitutional legitimacy; but that the escape route was one of several factors that should be considered in determining whether the DUI checkpoint location was "reasonable".

Assuming an escape route is mandated for constitutional compliance, it remains unclear whether the fruits of an enforcement stop should be suppressed if the motorist commits a minor traffic violation necessitated by his desire to avoid the checkpoint detention.

Orange County DUI Checkpoints


Traffic cones and flare patterns are frequently set up by law enforcement at DUI checkpoints. Be mindful of CVC § 2818, which provides that:

“It is unlawful to traverse a flare pattern, cone pattern, or combination thereof, provided for the regulation of traffic, or provided in any situation where public safety personnel are engaged in traffic control or emergency scene management.”

The issue of whether a detention for attempting to avoid a DUI Checkpoint and/or Roadblock depends on whether an actual violation of law occurs as the driver tries to "avoid" the DUI checkpoint. Not everyone avoids a DUI checkpoints because they consumed alcohol, some people seek to bypass DUI checkpoints to avoid the often unnecessary and timely process of waiting to pass through the DUI checkpoint.

DUI checkpoint cases and those revolving around detentions effectuated as a result of some alleged violation of law, are complex and involve the analysis of detailed packets of discovery relating to the constitutionality of the DUI checkpoint. This information is imperative to an Orange County DUI Lawyer's ability to defend against the charge of driving under the influence.