DUI Checkpoints in Orange County 2022

Sobriety checkpoints – you may also refer to them as DUI checkpoints – exist all over California today. Their purpose is to look for motorists driving under drugs or alcohol.

You’d typically find these checkpoints on the state highways and surface streets. If any driver shows any sign of drunk driving, an officer has the right to pull them over and perform field sobriety tests at that spot.

Also, Orange County DUI checkpoints serve the double duty of checking motorists driving without a license. You could get charged with driving without a license or driving on a suspended license (California Vehicle Code 12500 and 14601, respectively) if you can’t show the law enforcement officer your documents upon request.

Are DUI Checkpoints Orange County Legal?

An officer is placing traffic cones in to mark a DUI sobriety checkpoint. 

Many drivers argue about the legality of sobriety checkpoints in Orange County and southern California generally. Technically, these sobriety checkpoints don’t violate the prohibition in the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Furthermore, it’s the government’s interest to create sobriety checkpoints to reduce drunk driving fatalities. You must also note that driving on a public road isn’t an absolute right. As such, law enforcement officers can set up checkpoints as long as they meet the strict conditions. Some of these conditions include:

  1. The site’s decision and sobriety checkpoints’ procedures must come under a supervisory system. Therefore, an individual officer on the field has to follow pre-existing lines of action and not make any of his accords.
  2. A valid checkpoint location must fit the government’s interests in tackling DUI. For instance, the checkpoint could exist in areas with high DUI charges previously.
  3. The officers at sobriety checkpoints must conduct tests at such a time frame to give the most effective result. Typically, early morning hours or evenings are excellent options since they are times when people are most likely returning from bars.
  4. All safety conditions must be in place, including proper lighting, adequate warning signs, and identifiable personnel.
  5. The cops must set each stop duration in a manner that doesn’t intrude, i.e., every search should only be long enough to determine whether the driver has exhibited any sign of drunkenness. These signs include; slurred speech, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and alcohol on the breath.
  6. Officers must announce sobriety checkpoints to the public before operation. It’s to reduce public fear and inconvenience. However, there is no need to report the precise checkpoint location.
  7. Checkpoints must look like regular roadblocks with the signs, flashing lights, and adequate lighting. It may also have uniformed police officers and police vehicles.

Can You Safely Avoid a DUI Checkpoint?

A car making a U-turn

No law stipulates that motorists must go through a DUI sobriety checkpoints every time. Therefore, you can avoid going through DUI sobriety checkpoints whenever you see one. DUI checkpoints typically have signs to notify motorists before the actual stop, and you can easily make a turn instead.

However, try not to make an illegal U-turn when trying to avoid a sobriety checkpoint. The state police don’t have probable cause to stop you around DUI sobriety checkpoints unless you violate traffic laws. Therefore, it’s best not to make any unsafe movement as that might earn you a ticket.

Common DUI Checkpoints Locations in Orange County

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will regularly announce the time and duration of their sobriety tests, although it won’t disclose the precise location. From previous testing patterns, you can expect the sobriety checkpoint to be near bars, fancy restaurants, or areas with a high number of past DUI cases.

It would help if you regularly check law enforcement press releases. They generally have alerts on active DUI checkpoints locations. The following localities have hosted Orange County DUI checkpoints in the past few months.

  • Irvine
  • Orange city
  • Santa Ana
  • Huntington Beach
  • Cypress
  • Costa Mesa
  • Anaheim
  • Newport Beach
  • Tustin


  • If Stopped at a DUI Checkpoint, Can I Refuse a Breath Test?

Yes, you can, provided that you are above 21 and not under probation for a previous DUI. A preliminary alcohol screening test is voluntary.

  • Arrested for a DUI, How Long Do I Have to Stop the Automatic Suspension of My License?

You only have ten days from the day of your arrest to request a hearing to stop the suspension of your license.

  • What Is the Best Way to Avoid a DUI Checkpoint Stop?

The best way to avoid a DUI checkpoint is not to have any alcohol before driving. If you must drink, take a cab or use an Uber.