What to do if you are stopped at a checkpoint during coachella or stagecoach?
Feb. 9, 2015
Many thanks to all my readers for their questions and their suggestions for future articles. Because we are in the middle of our Coachella and Stagecoach weekends I will try to focus on questions relating to them first.
Q: What are my rights at a DUI Checkpoint? Steve M (Palm Desert)
A: Checkpoints are legal and usually set up during holidays and concert weekends in Indio. There is no need for an officer to have probable cause to stop you... as is usually the case. Normally an officer must have a reason to pull you over. At a sobriety check point anybody can be stopped and a breath test can be administered. However, this does not mean that if you have failed a breath test or a sobriety test at a checkpoint, all your rights have been compromised. There are procedures and guidelines that all officers at a checkpoint must follow for a DUI test to be held valid.
Q: My friend said he read in your column that if you are stopped for a possible DUI that you DO NOT have to take a (PAS) Preliminary Alcohol Screening breath test or Field Sobriety Test at the scene. Ricardo E. (Indio)
A: That is correct. The PAS breath test at the scene and the field tests (FST) of finger to nose, walk the line and coordination test are OPTIONAL. You would however have to take a breath or blood test at the station. I suggest to my clients that they courteously tell the officer that you understand these tests are elective and that you elect not to take them. Then state you want to cooperate with law enforcement and would be glad to take a breath or blood test at the police station.
Q: If I am stopped for a possible DUI should I take the Breath, Blood or Urine Test? Ricky M (Palm Springs)
A: The urine test is no longer used so you must decide between the blood and breath test. If you are sober enough to think clearly you should consider when you had your last drink. If you just left the bar/restaurant and had chugged your last drink 5 minutes before you were stopped, then the alcohol has not yet gotten into your system and you would want to take a test as quickly as possible because your reading would be going up with time. In that case a Breath test would be the quickest test and arguably result in the lowest reading. On the other hand if you had not had a drink in 2 hours then by requesting the Blood test you are buying time since it would normally take an hour to 3 hours to take a blood draw and your reading would be going down during that time.
Remember, When you drink don't get behind the wheel and have an accident (whether it is your fault or not) or get arrested for a DUI: DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI...IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN HIRING ME!
Dale Gribow has been "Rated" TOP LAWYER by Palm Springs Life Magazine from 2011-2019 and has a Superb AVVO Legal Rating by his fellow attorneys. Dale Gribow has been Man of the Year 7 times including the City of Palm Desert and the City of Hope and Dale Gribow Day has been declared 4 times. In December 2013 Dale was sole attorney appointed to the Coachella Valley Association of Government's Public Safety Ad Hoc Blue Ribbon Committee. Comprised of all the local police chiefs and mayors as well as the Sheriff of Riverside County, the head of CHP and Border Patrol they study Drunk Driving related issues. In 2014 Gribow was again the only attorney selected to the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Health Matters Committee addressing Drunk Driving matters. Dale is also one of the founders of Shutdown Drunk Driving, formed upon the death of his client who was killed by a drunk driver while jogging in October 2013.
Gribow has been a legal commentator, analyst, expert, newspaper columnist and radio talk show host. He currently writes for the CV Weekly and the Desert Sun.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his NEW number 760-565-0533.