You may be wondering what happens at a DUI checkpoint. After all, the police need a reason to stop your car in the first place in order to check whether you are driving under the influence, right? Actually, according to the United States Supreme Court, a police officer usually has to have probable cause to stop a vehicle, but DUI checkpoints do not require probable cause as long as specific guidelines for legality are adhered to by the police. Eleven states still do not permit DUI checkpoints, but the other states do, albeit with special requirements in many. Let us discuss three things that will happen at a DUI checkpoint.
1. Sequencing. The police officers at a DUI checkpoint may stop drivers using a pattern. For example, they may stop every fifth car that drives by.
2. Stopping Cars. Police officers may ask you for your license and registration in order to confirm your identity. An officer might also ask you if you have been drinking or using drugs. If you say no, oftentimes your car will be sent on its way. If the officer suspects you are being untruthful, however, you may be evaluated further for a DUI.
3. Evaluation for a DUI. An evaluation may be performed for signs that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Evaluation might include the classic “walk a straight line” test, a breathalyzer, or another type of “field sobriety test” as they are commonly called. Drivers are not required to submit to these tests involuntarily if the officer has no reason to think you are driving under the influence. If you are actually arrested, however, you will have to undergo these tests.
Keep in mind that you do not lose your constitutional rights at a DUI checkpoint. If you follow all traffic laws and are able to see the checkpoint far enough in advance to turn around, you are allowed to do so to avoid a checkpoint. If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint and need legal advice, call an experienced DUI defense attorney today.
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