April 15, 2016 By Paul Wallin

Is it a Crime to Warn Others about DUI Checkpoints?

There are few things more frustrating on the road than a DUI checkpoint. Nobody wants to wait in long lines for a forced interaction with police. So if you observed someone with a sign telling you that you were approaching a DUI checkpoint, you would probably appreciate the notice.DUI checkpoint

While DUI checkpoints are publicly announced ahead of time, and checkpoint locations are regularly disseminated on Facebook and other social media, some individuals have received fines and jail time for physically warning drivers about a nearby checkpoint. So is warning people about an upcoming checkpoint illegal?

Arrests Made for Warning Others about DUI Checkpoints

The Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints in 1990, and found that while checkpoints infringe on the Fourth Amendment rights of individuals, the infringement was outweighed by the need to prevent drunk driving.1 The court left it up to the states to develop guidelines surrounding DUI checkpoints, but said that the location of checkpoints must be announced in advance.

So if checkpoints are not to be kept a secret from the public, then it shouldn’t be illegal to tell people about them, right? This is what Douglas Odolecki thought when he decided to warn oncoming drivers about a DUI checkpoint in 2014. Odolecki made a sign that read “Checkpoint Ahead. Turn Now!” and stood on a sidewalk near a checkpoint location.DUI CheckPoint Ahead

Police quickly issued Odolecki a citation and confiscated his sign. He was later convicted of obstruction of justice and was sentenced to jail time.

Similarly, a man was recently cited for reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian and creating a public disturbance after he held a sign close to a DUI checkpoint that said “Police Ahead. Keep Calm and Remain Silent.”2

What is important to note in both of these incidents is that neither man was charged with a crime for alerting the public about a DUI checkpoint because that is not an actual violation of the penal code. While it appears that physically telling others about an upcoming DUI checkpoint is itself not illegal, law enforcement may try to find a way to arrest you for a crime if you are informing the public about DUI checkpoints.

Contact a Wallin & Klarich Defense Attorney Today

Being charged with a DUI or other crime related to informing others about a DUI checkpoint is a serious matter. That is why you need to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away if you are being accused of a crime. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending their clients against DUI and DUI-related charges. We can help you, too.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

1. http://caselaw.duicenter.com/index.php/sitz01.html href=”#ref1″>↩

2. http://fox61.com/2016/01/25/east-hartford-man-cited-after-holding-sign-warning-drivers-of-dui-checkpoint-ahead/ href=”#ref2″>↩

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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