San Diego Defenders Dan Smith on Border DUI's | (619) 258-8888

"I got a DUI at the Border!" We hear that phrase at San Diego Defenders more than ever. Why? We are not sure except that it seems that the US Customs and CHP have become allies for DUI arrests whether it was statistical data or just plain common sense to know that people go to Mexico, ie TJ, Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada to have a good time and then return home. US Customs used to just ask the usual questions about citizenship or what you are bringing or declaring when you cross the border. Now, it seems they ask about where you were in Mexico. Were you at a restaurant....then did you have drinks? "Please give me your keys and step over to secondary inspection." Many of our clients live in Chula Vista or anywhere in San Diego County and have family in TJ. So the answer may be "I went to a family birthday party for my grandparents." Which in turn leads to the assumptive "You had a good time? Then you had some drinks,,,,how many, what were you drinking?"

Sadly, you do not have to answer these types of questions, but out of courtesy, you might find yourself answering without thinking of the consequences. The US Customs Officer will often detain you. US Customs in not trained in the area of Drug and alcohol impairment evaluations. That is, they don't know how to give FST's or Field Sobriety Tests. So the Customs officers "detain" you until a CHP officer can arrive to administer the FST's and ultimately arrest you.

So what issues do we, the San Diego DUI lawyers closest to the border handling the greatest number of the these border DUI arrests look for? First we want to see if you were even in the United States at the time of contact. There is a line and if you are not in the US, we may have a jurisdiction argument. Next, did the Customs or Border Patrol have reasonable cause to detain you? Even though you have a lesser expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment crossing an international border, you still have rights. Was there a prolonged detention in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The US Customs cannot hold you for an unreasonable amount of time waiting for the CHP to show up. You should have access to a restroom and water. We also check very closely the times in which you were stopped to the actual chemical test that is admissible in court. The hand held breathalizer   is NOT admissible, it is NOT the test that counts. Was there a rising blood alcohol? That means, we may have an argument that your BAC was under a .08 when you were detained and then AFTER  your body had an hour to absorb more alcohol, your BAC was exceeding the limit. Of course we always ask for the Customs reports and the CHP reports. Many times, we may bring a motion to suppress evidence where the prosecutor has the burden to show that not only the CHP had probable cause, but the US Customs had to have some modicum of reasonable cause for the detention. If the US Custom officer does not show up to the motion hearing or a trial because they have been transferred or ignored the subpoena, they will have problems with the San Diego DUI lawyers of San Diego Defenders!  Call us at (619) 258-8888 for a free consultation. We are the most successful Border DUI lawyers in San Diego and we know TJ or Otay Mesa border DUI cases better than any other firm,if for no other reason than we have defended more of these border DUI's than any other firm in San Diego. You can get an affordable payment plan at our office located at 585 3rd Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91910, right across the street from the San Diego County Superior Court, Southern Division at 500 3rd Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91910.