Many states uphold the right of the police to conduct checkpoints for people driving under the influence (DUI). Any time you are approaching a DUI checkpoint, remember the following three things to get you through it without a hitch.
Stop Your Vehicle
Typically, the police need what is known as probable cause to stop a car. This means police are supposed to have a valid reason to suspect you’ve committed a crime or traffic infraction before they stop you. However, the courts have upheld that stops at DUI checkpoints are entirely legal, so you have to comply with an officer’s request that you stop at such a checkpoint. Trying to tell the police that they don’t have probable cause here will only aggravate the situation, so if you are asked to stop your car, do so without arguing with or yelling at officers about it.
Bear in mind that if you are close to a checkpoint and decide to turn around to avoid it in clear view of the police, you must do so legally, without committing any type of traffic infraction or offense. If you commit any type of traffic offense while turning away from a checkpoint, it will give the police a reason to stop your car anyway, and you may end up with more problems than you would have had just going through the checkpoint.
Remember Your Fifth Amendment Rights
Don’t forget you can “plead the fifth” at a DUI checkpoint in a way. If an officer is asking you questions but your honest answers could incriminate you in any way, you should respectfully decline to answer those questions. Common DUI checkpoint questions, such as “How much have you had to drink tonight?” and “Are you drunk?”, are designed to have people incriminate themselves via their answers. Keep in mind that the police have the job of gathering evidence on you, and it’s not your job to incriminate yourself.
Keep Your Cool
As an American citizen, you have many rights, and one of those rights is freedom of speech. With that in mind, it’s always wise to be polite with and courteous to police officers regardless of the situation. If you feel as if you are being mistreated, report the police officer in question after the incident. Simply put, being courteous to police at the time of the interaction will generally make your life easier. Trying to resolve your anger with police officers at the scene probably will not turn out in your favor.
Don’t forget the three points above if you are ever stopped at a DUI checkpoint. If you or a loved one end up being charged at a DUI checkpoint, contact a DUI lawyer for help. Being convicted of a DUI can mean fines, jail time, loss of your right to drive and other negative consequences, so it’s wise to reach out to a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO right away if you find yourself facing a DUI charge.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and DUI charges.