What to do at a DUI Checkpoint

Under state and federal constitution law, California law enforcement perform 2,500 + DUI checkpoints annually. Officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment. The likelihood that you will be stopped in a California DUI checkpoint is high. Being prepared to handle the situation will allow you to maintain your rights and freedom. Here is some help.

By law DUI checkpoints should be publicly announced or posted. With dates and possibly even times of day. As a driver nears a checkpoint, in progress, there should also be adequate signage and informative cones, lights, or officers directing traffic.

Your Right to Avoid the Checkpoint

It is legal to avoid a DUI checkpoint all together. You have the right to choose a different route if it is available. While most checkpoints are systematically placed for convenience and effectiveness this may be harder in certain situations. While you have the right to choose another route or road, you must do it lawfully. Very often, saturation patrols are conducted in the vicinity of a checkpoint itself.

These officers are restrained by the standard of probable cause, but will pull you over for an unlawful U-turn, speeding, lighting issues (at night), or license plate discrepancies, ext. Beware of these conditions before you decide to avoid a checkpoint.


Let’s say that you have decided to pass through the checkpoint. As you proceed to the checkpoint, either guided by cones and signs, or officers, prepare to stop and show proof of license. Remember that stops are often systemic to maintain legality. They may also be stopping every car, or they may stop vehicles in a pattern (for example every third, fifth, or tenth).

Law requires the checkpoints to be brief and to the point. Maintain your hands on the wheel and be polite, as the officers should be as well. They may ask some basic questions. Be polite and honest. Being transparent and honest will speed up the stop.

As you proceed through the stop, remember that other officers are on patrol in the area. Manage your speed and lane changes, etc. This will ensure that you have a good experience before, during, and after the DUI checkpoint. The best rule of thumb for a successful DUI checkpoint experience is don’t drink and drive. This is the best standard for avoiding any legal action.

If you do need legal assistance, contact the Law Office of Byron Roope.