Those leaving AT&T Park this evening may find themselves getting stopped by the California Highway Patrol or the San Francisco Police Department for any number of reasons. The safest way to avoid it is to not drink and drive, but drinking and driving remains legal in California and it alone is not a basis to stop a motorist unless the he or she is observed drinking and driving at the same time!
If you get stopped and are ultimately arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you may be able to get the evidence suppressed and the charges dropped if the police lacked sufficient probable cause to initially detain you.
911 reports – Sometimes police officers are notified by their dispatcher that somebody reported your vehicle as being driven by a drunk driver. That alone is not always enough to justify an enforcement stop, unless the police independently observe something wrong with your driving or the reporting party gives sufficient details about you, your vehicle, and the manner of driving.
DUI Checkpoints – The United States Supreme Court and California Supreme Court have both approved warrantless DUI Checkpoint stops, but subject to certain limitations. In their zest to apprehend drunk drivers and keep federal grant money coming in, law enforcement agencies often push the envelope on how these DUI checkpoint stops are operated.
Mobile Video Audio Recording System (MVARS) – Many police agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, now have video and audio evidence. The good news for you is that the evidence does not always support their version of events in terns of your manner of driving and your performance on field sobriety tests.
Before pleading guilty to a DUI charge under California Vehicle Code section 23152, make sure you consult with a lawyer Board-Certified in DUI Defense.
Paul Burglin is a San Francisco DUI Attorney who is Board Certified in DUI Defense. For over 28 years he has specialized in drunk driving defense in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Napa and surrounding communities. He is also the co-author of "California Drunk Driving Law"