DUI checkpoints, or sobriety checkpoints, are designed for one purpose- to catch unsuspecting drivers unaware. Officers will essentially block off a road and ask that all drivers pass a brief inspection to prove that they are not intoxicated. However, they may take additional action through breathalyzer tests, If you find yourself facing a DUI checkpoint, you need to know your rights and legal obligations to better protect yourself from false or unfounded allegations.
DUI Checkpoint Laws
The Supreme Court deems DUI checkpoints legal, as they allow officers to routinely assess drivers during holidays or events that might encourage drunk driving. That said, drivers still have inherent rights when they pass through these checkpoints.
DUI checkpoints often occur on the following dates:
- Fourth of July
- Labor Day weekend
- New Year’s Eve
They might also hold DUI checkpoints on random summer nights, especially if there is a town fair, concert, or other event.
What To Expect at a DUI Checkpoint
At a checkpoint, police officers will line up their vehicles and examine drivers individually as they pass through the lines. Officers typically ask a series of questions to determine whether the driver shows any signs of intoxication, and they will also ask if the driver has been drinking. Sometimes will also ask for the driver’s license and registration. If the officer suspects the driver of DUI, they may ask the driver to submit to a sobriety test, or a breathalyzer test.
Officers may not lawfully search your vehicle without probable cause or permission, so if they ask to investigate your property further, but may not do so without your permission, declining can be in your best interest.
What Should I Do?
At a DUI checkpoint, you should be polite, but brief. You do not need to answer any questions beyond identifying yourself and your purpose for stopping at the checkpoint. You should aim to provide the officers with your identification, your registration, and comply with their requests without providing them with any evidence that could incriminate you.
If you’ve been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, you should call an experienced attorney right away. We can assess your situation and determine whether any foul play was involved. If, for example, there was an illegal search of your vehicle, or if the officers did not have probable cause, or if they were in any way negligent, we can use their lapse to protect your rights.
Contact Tidwell Law Group LLC today to discuss your DUI checkpoint case with our attorneys. We’re here for you.