Orange County Sobriety Checkpoints
Sobriety checkpoints are temporary barricades used by law enforcement to catch individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They follow the same successful design as roadside safety checks, license and registrations inspections. Sobriety checkpoints are often referred to as DUI roadblocks.
Sobriety checkpoints are one of law enforcement’s most direct ways of checking for DUI offenders. They also serve as a way to monitor driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations. They are frequently used on festive holidays such as Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve.
Typically sobriety checkpoints are set up late at night or early in the morning since those are the times that have the highest percentage of drunk drivers on the road. Normally, officers stop every vehicle or every nth vehicle on a public road to investigate if the drivers are driving under the influence.
Once stopped, the officer may ask permission to search your car. This means they do not have legal foundation to search your card and you may respectfully refuse.
If the officer orders you to exit your car, then lock the door after you exit. They may ask you to execute a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are voluntary, so you may refuse this request.
You may be asked to take a breath test to determine your blood alcohol content. Everyone who drives in California has given implied consent to a chemical test. A chemical test is breath, blood, or urine (if certain conditions apply). For a sobriety checkpoint, the test would be a breath test. You may refuse the breath test, but the consequences are very severe. They can be as stern as a DUI charge.
There are arguments on both sides regarding the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints. Those that believe in the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints take the position that even if drunk drivers do not come upon a checkpoint, they show the public the seriousness of driving under the influence and that it will not be tolerated. While other law enforcement officials and researchers believe that roving patrols are more effective.