The Cochran Firm California
Call Today 323-435-8205

Checkout the law before passing through police checkpoints

Many California motorists know how stressful it can be when you're pressed for time, almost late for a business meeting or date, and suddenly come upon an expected police checkpoint on the road. Officers stop you. Your heart starts beating faster. You're not sure what's happening, only that you'll likely never make your appointment on time now. It seems your bad day just got worse and you don't even know the reason for the stop.

Several incidents occurred in recent years that left those following the news aghast and outraged. More than one event resulted in criminal charges against law enforcement officers. The situations had to do with police brutality during supposedly typical traffic stops and checkpoints. It's crucial to remember when you stop at a police checkpoint, or an officer pulls you over in traffic, you retain all your personal rights protected under the U.S. Constitution.

How to recognize personal rights violations at police checkpoints

Police often set up several types of roadblocks on California highways. Sometimes, they're conducting driver sobriety checks. If you're approaching an international border, you might also come across a checkpoint. The Transportation Security Administration often implements checkpoints as well, typically at airports. Following, are various details of importance regarding law enforcement protocol at various kinds of checkpoints:

  • Reason for the stop: It's perfectly legal for police to set up DUI roadblocks. They say these checkpoints help them reduce the numbers of drunk driving accidents. They can run your tag number and approach your driver's window during such stops; however, if they ask to search your car or request that you exit your vehicle so they can search your person, you needn't comply if they don't produce a valid search warrant.
  • Arrests at DUI roadblocks: The court can allow checkpoint evidence when officers place a driver under arrest for DUI at a roadblock. This is why it's important to be careful what you say and do during interaction with law enforcement agents at a checkpoint.
  • Different rules at international borders: Law enforcement protocol at U.S. border checkpoints is quite different from a typical DUI roadblock situation. In this instance, an officer does not need a warrant, nor probable cause, to search you or your vehicle. Authorities can stop and search you without cause anytime you enter or leave the United States.
  • Electronic device exceptions: While most types of searches (including strip searches, wand searches, pat-downs and x-rays) are permissible at U.S. border checkpoints, Homeland Security agents must act on reasonable suspicion to conduct forensic searches of your personal electronic devices, such as cellphones, computers or camera memory chips.

If you pass through a TSA checkpoint at an airport, security guards can require you to show photo identification. This is also a checking station where authorities need no probable cause or warrant to search you or your possessions. Undergoing a bodily search by police at an airport or U.S. border is enough to bring on full-out anxiety attacks in some people.

If you believe California authorities violated your personal rights at a DUI roadblock or other checkpoint, you can seek immediate assistance by meeting with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

The Cochran Firm California | 4929 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 1010 | Los Angeles, CA 90010 | P: 323-435-8205 | TF: 800-THE-FIRM | F: 323-282-5280 | Maps & Directions