One of the most controversial methods that are used by police in order to catch drivers under the influence is the DUI checkpoint. Charges against the legality of the DUI checkpoint have been brought to court time and time again, as it fails to require officers to have reasonable cause to stop drivers. At a checkpoint, there is no reasonable suspicion, and all drivers passing through may find themselves questioned about consuming alcohol. While it has been upheld as a legal method to catch intoxicated drivers, you still have legal rights at these stops.
What should I do if stopped at a checkpoint?
Under the law, police must inform the public of the presence of a DUI checkpoint before setting one up. By publicizing the event, they are giving drivers opportunities to avoid taking a route where a checkpoint may be set up and encouraging the use of a designated driver. During a DUI checkpoint, drivers will be asked to stop their vehicle, provide identifying information to the officer, and may be asked some questions concerning their actions that evening.
When encountering a roadblock, a driver should:
- Roll down their window
- Have identifying information ready to provide
- Invoke their Fifth Amendment right to silence if questioned
- Politely decline to submit to field sobriety tests
- Refuse to allow a voluntary search
Answering questions and performing what seems like routine procedure may actually work against the driver. A DUI roadblock is set up with the goal of finding drivers on the road who are intoxicated. When a driver even says they were out for dinner and had a drink, it encourages the officer to probe deeper. Legally, a driver cannot be detained if there is not reasonable suspicion that they are intoxicated.
If you have been arrested in connection with a roadside DUI checkpoint, work with a DUI attorney to ensure that your rights were not violated in the process. Garretson & Toth, LLC does not charge a fee for case consultations, so you have nothing to lose when taking a stand to defend your rights.