It is often a good tactic for your criminal defense lawyer to attempt to
suppress evidence by attacking the reasons you were detained by law enforcement.
There are particular rules and constitutional standards that apply if
you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, as established in the 2000 Supreme
Court case of
City of Indianapolis v. Edmond.
Edmond, if it can be established that the primary purpose of the
DUI checkpoint was to catch and arrest drunk drivers, the evidence gathered
through the use of that checkpoint may be inadmissible. Whether this is
actually true is one matter. It is entirely another matter to elicit that
on the stand from a police officer who is an experienced witness, but
a skilled DUI attorney in Orange County may be able to do just so. He
or she must:
1. Know who to cross-examine.
Edmond requires a decision as to the purpose of a DUI checkpoint be made at the
"programmatic level." Thus, the witness must be an individual
who had some impact on how, when, and where the checkpoint was established,
such as a Sergeant or perhaps a Lieutenant in charge. The constitutional
standards cannot be established with a patrol or street officer only.
2. Understand that eliciting such information is more likely if the witness
is made to feel comfortable and not attacked.
This is typically accomplished by conversationally establishing routine
facts that are already part of the record, such as who was in charge and
the specific date and time the checkpoint was held. This creates a rapport
without any controversy.
3. Realize that a witness is more likely to agree with a suggestive question
if that rapport without controversy has been established.
Your lawyer may at this point comment something along the lines of, "it
was a pretty successful night." If the office agrees, a follow-up
may matter-of-factly suggest that the intended purpose of a DUI checkpoint
is to arrest and prosecute people driving under the influence. An affirmative
response by the officer may reveal exactly the unconstitutional reason
for the stop under
Edmond. The reality is that most officers probably do believe the reason they
set up a DUI checkpoint is to arrest drunk drivers, but will likely not
admit to such absent a non-adversarial atmosphere.