Posted on: Aug 15, 2014By Michael Cindrich

The San Diego Police Department’s goal is to decrease the number of traffic accidents linked to narcotics and alcohol. The San Diego DUI Enforcement Team is tasked with detecting and apprehending intoxicated drivers. Unless you want to be one of the unfortunate people arrested after a few too many drinks, follow the helpful tips below.

1. Don’t drive intoxicated.

This one is easy, just don’t drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To legally operate a motor vehicle in California, you must achieve a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below .08. To calculate your BAC (estimated value), there are many online BAC Calculators to help.  However, these are only a rough estimate and cannot be relied upon to determine your actual intoxication level, and definitely will not be admissible as evidence you were not intoxicated should you eventually be charged with a DUI in San Diego.  Another important point to remember: you can be charged and convicted of a DUI even if your BAC is below .08.  In the case of alcohol or drugs, if it can be proven that you could not operate your vehicle with the caution and care of an ordinary sober person acting under similar circumstances, you may be found guilty of a DUI.  Evidence of your driving and performance on field sobriety tests (FSTs) are most commonly used to convict an individual of a DUI when their BAC is under .08 or when they have consumed drugs.

2. Don’t do anything to give an officer reasonable suspicion while you are behind the wheel.

Police may not initiate a traffic stop unless they have observed illegal activity or have a reasonable belief that you are engaging in illegal activity. Although this sounds simple enough, traffic laws can be vague and an officer can enforce at his/her own discretion, i.e. an officer could pull you over for minor vehicle code violations if s/he witnessed you swerving and simultaneously check if you’re drunk or have been driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. This is very often the case because it is much more likely that an officer will see a minor traffic violation or taillight out before s/he has any knowledge whether you have been drinking or consuming drugs.

3. Be Aware of DUI Checkpoints

DUI checkpoints are regularly placed in several areas around San Diego, particularly on weekends and holidays in high traffic areas like Pacific Beach, Downtown San Diego, Mission Beach, and other places where bars and restaurants are prevalent.Police are generally required to notify the public, in advance, where a checkpoint will be. The San Diego police or California Highway Patrol will release the time and location of the checkpoint to the media, usually at least 48 hours in advance. This gives a short bit of time for travelers and commuters to find out where the checkpoints are in order to avoid waiting in a long line during the drive to their destination.

Many resources online aggregate this information to help you locate and avoid running into a surprise checkpoint. Three particularly useful resources are the San Diego DUI map, Twitter, and mobile apps.

San Diego DUI map

View San Diego California DUI Checkpoint Locations in a larger map


Is a fantastic resource for up to the minute information, news, etc. This takes a bit more initiate on your end, but try searching a few hashtags like “dui checkpoint san diego,” or an an advanced local search for “dui checkpoint near:”San Diego, CA” within:15mi,” get creative here and share some of your results in the comments!

Mobile App

There are several mobile apps available as well to track DUI Checkpoints. One in particular, Mr. Checkpoint, was developed by local SDSU graduate Sennet Devermont. Mr. Checkpoint will pull up a local map of DUI checkpoints packaged into a handy little stand-alone app.

If you do get pulled over, remember your rights, and call your San Diego DUI Defense Attorney, Michael Cindrich.


Most checkpoints serve the purpose of keeping alcohol, marijuana, and drug-impaired drivers off of the road. They serve an important purpose for the community, and it is important for drivers to operate their vehicles in a sober and safe manner.  However, it is equally important for police to follow guidelines when conducting a checkpoint. The US and California Constitutions provide protections and liberties for citizens, and through state and federal laws, DUI checkpoints must abide by the following guidelines:

  1. Checkpoints must be publicly announced prior to enforcement
  2. The checkpoint must be located in a reasonable area
  3. The time and length of the checkpoint should be reasonable
  4. Motorist who are stopped must be chosen in a neutral and non-discriminatory way
  5. The supervising officer must make all of the operational decisions
  6. Safety precautions must be in place to avoid causing roadway collisions or unreasonable traffic delay
  7. The checkpoint must be adequately marked so the public is aware it is an official police operation
  8. Drivers should not be detained or questioned for an unreasonable amount of time

This list is not exhaustive in regards to rights you will have at a DUI checkpoint, or any other interaction you may have with police. Each individual situation requires analysis based on specific facts of your police encounter. If you have questions or have been charged with an offense, start researching your rights and consult with a lawyer who is skilled in DUI checkpoints or driving under the influence of alcohol and/or marijuana.