Know Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint

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Woman inside her car at a checkpoint

DUI, or driving under the influence, checkpoints are often set up in locations where there have been several occurrences of motorists arrested for driving with intoxication. Police officers do this to prevent accidents and impose on civilians to be more vigilant against drinking and driving.

Now, some police officers can be too stringent with their investigation of civilians. Also, not all states deem DUI checkpoints as legal; in California, it’s perfectly legal.

So, it’s your responsibility to know your rights when you’re at a DUI checkpoint. And if necessary, you should inform the officer investigating you that you’re aware of your legal rights. But most importantly, don’t drive if you’re intoxicated. You’ll be saving yourself, the officers, and your motorcycle accident injury lawyer in Denver the trouble of getting into an accident.

Don’t refuse to stop

Unless the state you’re in deems DUI checkpoints as illegal, you’re always required to stop at a checkpoint. If you don’t, the commanding officer at the scene could arrest you and you’d face heavy penalties.

Almost all states require that drivers stop at sobriety checkpoints. The only states that don’t implement this rule are Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Don’t avoid a checkpoint

If you happen to see a checkpoint ahead, don’t turn around and drive away. Police officers will likely view you as suspicious and go after you, which will make matters worse.

Instead, slow down and let the officers conduct their investigation. If you really want to avoid a checkpoint just because you don’t want the hassle of stopping for a routine check, then go online and search for all the checkpoints in your area.

You can refuse a search

If you’re stopped at a checkpoint, the police officers there will proceed with their investigation by asking you a few questions. Always remember that officers don’t have the right to search you or your vehicle, unless they have reason to do so.

They can ask your permission to search your vehicle, but you have every right to refuse. You also have the right to refuse any sobriety test, again, unless officers have a reason to do so.

If you’ve been swerving while driving and the officers noticed that, for example, then they have every right to make you take a sobriety test. But if the commanding officer asks you if you’ve been drinking, you have every right to refuse to answer. The law protects civilians from self-incrimination.

Be cooperative

Man subjected to breathalyzer test for alcohol

To be cooperative doesn’t mean that you’ll be subservient to the commanding officer at a DUI checkpoint. Now that you know your rights as a civilian in a sobriety checkpoint, remember that every time a police officer questions you.

But if the officer asks you politely, answer him politely as well. The whole process can go more smoothly if you show the officers that you’re cooperating.

It’s understandable that it can be annoying when officers force you to stop, when all you want is to get home right away. But remember that they’re doing this to protect you. Also, every time they put up a checkpoint, they’re more likely to prevent someone from driving while drunk.