A lot of people will ask me is it really fair that the police are pulling me over at one of these DUI checkpoints? Don't they have to have a legal reason to pull me over? The answer to that question is, unfortunately, they are allowed to set-up checkpoints throughout Los Angeles County and they can certainly use those checkpoints to try to stop people from drinking alcohol and driving on the streets.
Police Must Follow Specific Rules at a DUI Checkpoint
There are certain rules that they have to abide by but those are something your attorney would have to check out post-arrest for a DUI and usually they do it the right way obviously because they don't want to get all of their DUI arrests thrown out.
What they do when they pull you over is, they have a number of areas available where they can take your blood, your breath and they do that as part of the checkpoint. They have a whole system set-up in these DUI checkpoints in order to be able to catch people for drinking and driving.
I've seen people attempt to get out of a checkpoint. In other words, once they see that they've been caught in a DUI checkpoint and they're coming up on a row of police officers ready to arrest them, that's when they will try to get and either make a U-turn or cut down a side street and the checkpoint people usually have things set-up so that they're unable to do that.
They have motorcycle police on the perimeters of all of these checkpoints pulling people over who are trying to get out of the checkpoints, realizing those are probably the people who are drinking and driving, and then they just bring them right into the DUI checkpoint and they check them.
DUI Field Sobriety Tests, Blood and Breath Test
They set these checkpoints up in areas where they believe that a lot of people come through and they're going to catch a lot of people drinking and driving. They set it up so they can do everything right there. They can take your blood. They can take your breath.
They can test you with the field sobriety tests, make you walk the line, check your eyes, and a number of other things.
They also ask you what I would characterize as a punch of pre-booking questions — asking you where you came from, how much you had to drink — all of these questions designed to lock the vice tighter around your neck.
This is when you have to get to a DUI lawyer, because when I start talking to people, I'm asking a lot of these same questions because I know what the authorities are trying to prove when they arrest people at the checkpoint for a DUI. So, I'm asking the same questions to see what information I can get.
So, when you call me, be honest with me. Even if you don't hire me, I still can't give your information out. It's all protected by the attorney/client privilege.
A lot of people are asking, Mr. Hedding, I want to know what's going to happen to me. Part of me trying to figure that out and giving you a little piece of mind is by asking questions, getting information, just like the police try to do so I can have an idea of what level of a DUI you are.
Not all DUI's are treated equally. People who blow close to a .08 are going to be treated much differently than somebody who blows a .20 or more, for example. I look at these DUI's kind of like a swinging pendulum — where some people are going to be treated very harshly, where other people are going to be treated in a very fair manner and they'll be able to get out of the justice system as quick as possible.
That's what I consider as part of my job when I do these DUI's and people are caught in checkpoints — it's to turn the tide in their favor so they can be as at-ease as possible and get out of this court situation and move on with their lives.