DUI Checkpoints


Ingersoll v Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321 is the controlling case in California which deals with DUI Checkpoints.  Prior to Ingersoll Checkpoints were considered illegal.  If you take a minute to think about it what other country in the world have checkpoints? Europe? Germany ? China? Japan? Mexico? Cuba?   Are we as free as we think we are?

Because of the political climate and the pressure from such groups as MADD, our government has decided that it was perfectly fine to take away some of your rights in order to make these groups happy. 

The Ingersoll court came up with 8 factors in determining whether the intrusion was reasonable or not under constitutional scrutiny.

a)     The decisions made at the supervisor level;

b)     Was the location reasonable;

c)     Maintenance of the safety conditions;

d)     The limiting of the discretion of the officers in the field;

e)     The duration and time of the checkpoint;

f)      Advanced publicity to the public;

g)     Indicia of the official nature of the checkpoint.



How do you boil a live frog?  Do you throw him in a pot of boiling water? No, if you do that he will make every effort to jump out, but if you put him in a pot of cool water and slowwwllllyyy turn up the heat he won’t know what hit him.

What does this have to do with a DUI Checkpoint? Everything!  When DUI Checkpoints first started they did one thing, they check for DUI’s.  Today, if you go through a DUI Checkpoint what do you see? You see them check for license, registration, and proof of insurance.  If you take the average DUI Checkpoint they will stop 200 plus vehicles, make 2 DUI arrest, and impound 30 cars for NON DUI reasons.   These Checkpoints are a money generating source for the police agency that puts them on. Not only do they receive federal funding, they make money off your impound fees, booking fees, etc.