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DUI detention for avoiding a roadblock.

Roadblock detentions seem to be on the increase in Los Angeles County. I have been consulted by a number of potential clients recently arrested for DUI following a sobriety checkpoint detention. There are a number of issues to be considered in a checkpoint case, but an interesting issue arose today with a client stopped for trying to avoid a roadblock. The circumstances were that the client made a u-turn immediately before the roadblock and was then followed and pulled over for an "illegal u-turn". It is not clear at this point why the police believed the u-turn to be illegal as we have only just been consulted.
The leading case dealing with the legality of checkpoints is Ingersoll v Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321. This case establishes guidelines to be followed by the police in roadblock cases. One of the criteria indicates that motorists should not be stopped merely for avoiding the checkpoint. However, if the motorist does something unlawful or displays obvious signs of impairment, the motorist may then be stopped and detained.

In the above case, it will be important to establish whether the u-turn was illegal in itself or whether the officer believed it was illegal because the suspect was avoiding the checkpoint.  

If you have any questions concerning DUI defense in Los Angeles or Orange County, please call us at 562 938 7771.