(PRWEB) April 10, 2013
Officers from the Ontario, Chino, Redlands Police Department's along with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department made six arrests on St. Patrick’s Day this year, reported The Sun (3.18.13). DUI defense lawyers at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP have challenged and questioned the legality of DUI checkpoints arguing that the stop and search violates an individual's basic Constitutional rights.
The principal benefit of a DUI checkpoint is its deterrent effect on drivers who drink and drive. However, according to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution unreasonable searches and seizures of individuals within the U.S. are forbidden.
“Police must have probable cause to arrest or search people on their private property. Reasonable suspicion can only be based on facts that the law has been broken,” said California DUI defense lawyer James Knox, partner at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP, in response to the Sun article.
This means officers can legally stop drivers at sobriety checkpoints from a narrow Fourth Amendment standpoint. In a split decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that properly conducted roadside sobriety checkpoints are not unreasonable. (Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 110 S.Ct. 2481 (1990))
“When the standards are decided to be unreasonable, the search may be considered unconstitutional and any evidence gathered during the stop may be suppressed. Any resulting arrest may also be determined to be unlawful,” said Knox.
“The public should be aware that many DUI checkpoints violate basic rights afforded to us by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” he added.
Furthermore, as DUI lawyers at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP understand, most DUI checkpoints are “simply a waste of taxpayer money.”
One Inland Empire city recently spent $236,000 to staff a DUI checkpoint with twelve officers for seven hours. In the end, officers screened 599 drivers and arrested four for DUI, according to an article published this March by The Antelope Valley Times.
“A 7/10ths of 1% arrest rate,” said Knox.
In a recent year, the California Highway Patrol screened 100,377 drivers across California and made 458 DUI arrests. This is a 4/10ths of 1% arrest rate.
“As a result of these low arrest numbers, some shortcuts might be taken by law enforcement which violate a person’s basic Constitutional rights,” said Knox. “These shortcuts can cause the entire case to be dismissed.”
As California law enforcement continues to stop drivers, the DUI defense attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP said they would continue to carefully scrutinize all DUI checkpoint police activity.
The attorneys at Miligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP are available to assist drivers wrongfully accused of DUI and those whose rights have been violated. An experienced California DUI defense lawyer can determine whether a roadside DUI checkpoint stop was lawfully conducted and ensure the best possible outcome of a DUI case. Contact the San Bernardino, California drunk driving defense law firm of Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP at (909) 889-1178 or (909) 888-5741.
About Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP
California DUI defense lawyers at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox in San Bernardino represent people who have been arrested for driving under the influence. All attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox are trained in criminal defense or criminal prosecution. Partner Stephen Levine is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense, an honor given to only the top criminal defense attorneys in California. Of counsel to the firm is Jon Hegness, who practiced for 33 years as deputy district attorney with San Bernardino County. Throughout the firm, the DUI defense lawyers’ focus is on protecting clients’ rights and helping them achieve the results they need and deserve.