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Avoiding DUI Checkpoints in Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara

Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara is located near the town of Danville, and is an unincorporated area in Contra Costa County. With nearly 11,000 residents in 9.3 square miles, the area is a combination of the Blackhawk Country Club and Camino Tassajara. If you live in the Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara area, you may be familiar with McGah’s Pub and Pianos on E. Prospect Avenue in Danville. McGah’s is a popular hangout featuring draft brews and lively dueling pianos in the evenings. Perhaps you have been in The Growler on 515 San Ramon Valley Blvd. in Danville, which is a bit more upscale with its arched windows, exposed brick and comfy bar seats. Craft beer and pub snacks bring people into The Growler, and the laid-back, friendly atmosphere keeps them coming back.

You may have visited McGah’s or The Growler, or you may have your own favorite place in the area. What you may not have ever expected was to be stopped by a police officer on your way home and charged with DUI. Perhaps you were drinking, but were far from impaired, or perhaps you were perfectly capable of driving home and were stopped because of a broken taillight or a minor traffic violation.

Whatever your circumstances, it is a sure bet you are anxious and stressed out right now, wondering what the future will hold, and how bad the consequences will be should you be convicted of DUI. You have good reason to be worried—even for a first-time DUI conviction in the state of California, the penalties are severe:

  • A minimum of $390 in fines, with a maximum of $1,000
  • Additional DUI assessments from several hundred dollars to $2,600
  • A 48-hour jail sentence, up to six months in jail
  • A five-month restriction on your driving privileges
  • Probation for 3 to 5 years
  • Mandatory completion of a $500, 3-month alcohol treatment program
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Possibly having your vehicle impounded for a period of 30 days

Information on DUI Checkpoints in the State of California

DUI checkpoints are the exception to the rule that there must be probable cause to pull a driver over. Probable cause can include things like traffic violations, a defect in your vehicle such as a broken taillight, or when you are driving in a way which indicates to the police officer you could be impaired. Courts have upheld DUI checkpoints as a legal way to deter those who might think about driving after having a few drinks, and to catch those who are driving while impaired.

Under the California Constitution, a DUI checkpoint is considered to be somewhat like an administrative procedure—like an airport security check—thus bypassing the requirement of probable cause. However, DUI checkpoints in the state do have follow certain rules.

In order to be legal, DUI checkpoints must ensure the following:

  • The criteria used to stop specific drivers must be neutral
  • There must be supervising officer on site to make decisions of a constitutional nature
  • The checkpoint must be in a “reasonable” location
  • Adequate safety precautions are implemented
  • The checkpoint is publicly advertised in advance
  • Detainment time must be kept to a minimum

Further, good judgment should be used regarding the time and duration of the checkpoint and sufficient indication of the official nature of the checkpoint must be in place.

If you are caught in a DUI checkpoint you will be asked for your license, registration, and insurance. After these documents are checked, the officer will subjectively decide whether you show any signs of being under the influence, including acting nervously, fumbling when reaching for your registration, license and insurance card, slurred speech, red eyes, watery eyes, the smell of alcohol, or the presence of alcohol in your vehicle.

If the officer observes probable cause of impairment, you may be asked to take several field sobriety tests or a handheld breathalyzer. Neither of these are mandatory, and you should politely refuse. If you are arrested, you will be required to take a breathalyzer test at the police station.

“Can I Turn Around After Seeing a DUI Checkpoint?”

There are no rules against avoiding DUI checkpoints in the state, and if you can find another route while avoiding a traffic violation, then feel free to do so. Police officers are not permitted to pull you over solely because you avoided a checkpoint. That being said, if you turn around right in front of an officer in order to avoid the checkpoint, it is fairly likely the officer will find a traffic or moving violation you have committed. If you are charged with DUI, take your right to remain silent seriously, and call a DUI attorney immediately.

Attorney Nabiel C. Ahmed is the attorney you need to fight your DUI charges. Call (510) 907-6600 or contact us with a short online form. We serve all of Contra Costa County, and we provide jail interviews and over-the-phone consultations when clients need us most. Discuss your case with us now.

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