One of the realities of life in San Diego is that we sit alongside Mexico and a border that has more people crossing it each day than any other in the country. Whether people are entering the United States in San Ysidro or Otay Mesa, they are subject to stops and searches by Customs and Border Protection officers. That agency falls under the Department of Homeland Security. Each and every vehicle that comes into the United States is subject to being stopped, the driver questioned and possible search.
As far as DUI’s go, there are a lot of arrests at both Ports of Entry. The usual scenario is that the Customs and Border Protection officer contacts a driver who has just entered the country. They notice the odor of alcohol, maybe some other indications of intoxication, and they then send the vehicle to the secondary search area and call California Highway Patrol to come do a DUI investigation.
There are a few key differences at the Border than a DUI stop somewhere else. One is that the CHP officers are not usually right there and there is some delay before they can get to the Port of Entry. Second, there is usually no bad driving, since the driver is sitting in the line of cars trying to enter the United States. Lastly, more than just the arresting officer is making observations of the driver.
If someone is arrested at the border, it is important to get a DUI lawyer with experience handling Border cases. There are potential strategies that can improve your chances for a good outcome significantly, if your lawyer knows how to employ them.