Paso Robles police holding DUI checkpoint on Saturday night

August 16, 2023



Paso Robles police announced plans to conduct a DUI checkpoint in the city at an undisclosed location on Saturday evening from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The department selects the location based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests. Officers check licenses and insurance while looking for signs of impairment.

“Impaired drivers put others on the road at significant risk,” Commander Afana said. “Any prevention measures that reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads significantly improves traffic safety.”

Drivers caught driving impaired and charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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I have no problem with the “looking for signs of impairment” part of DUI checkpoints. This is an observation of behavior in public. My grandparents were killed by a drunk driver many years ago, and I grew up having only one set of grandparents, so I know the terrible consequence drunk driving can have.

However, I also believe it is clearly a fourth amendment violation when “Officers check licenses and insurance” as these are acts of an illegal search. “The right of the people to be secure in their… papers…against unreasonable searches… shall not be violated…” without a warrant based on “probable cause, supported by Oath…”. These quotes are straight from the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which is a portion of what is also called the Bill of Rights. Asking for a license and/or proof of insurance is acceptable, but demanding same under threat is not acceptable. There is no warrant, and even if there was, it would not be specific to that person, and would not be supported by affirmation of any crime committed by that individual.  This is no different than stopping anyone on the street and arbitrarily demanding ID, which for right now at least, is still illegal).

I’m probably going to get a lot of s… stuff about this opinion from those to whom the Constitution is just a suggestion and otherwise, just a nuisance, and those who cannot recognize a police state even when experiencing same. I don’t care. If we don’t draw the line somewhere we will soon regularly experience police secretly searching houses sans warrant while occupants are not home, or police searching those the press sans warrant and seizing property just because the police are afraid of what that press outlet might say about them, all done with complete impunity. (Both these incidents occurred in the US and are or have been in the news recently.)

Drunk drivers don’t need to know ahead of time that a check point is waiting for them but I guess it’s required by law probably because a drunk driver sued the state for not being notified and won. Lawbreakers seem to always have a plan