15th August 2022
If you’ve been driving for any period of time, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve come across a DUI checkpoint on a highway at one time or another. While there’s no doubt that these are legal (although many would question whether or not they’re ethical), it’s important to know that you can try to avoid one if you wish. But it will be important that you do it in the safest, smartest way possible.
The following is a look at what a DUI checkpoint is, how to make sure your rights are protected if you happen to be arrested, and why it will be so important to obtain legal help as fast as you can. The attorneys with Sand Law have years of experience representing people arrested for DUI. If you would like to learn more about what we may be able to do for you, schedule a case review. It won’t cost you a dime.
You can give us a call at 701-609-1510, or you can use our online contact form.
What is a DUI Checkpoint?
If you know your U.S. Constitution, no one could blame you for assuming DUI checkpoints are illegal. After all, the Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches. But the Supreme Court decided to grant an exception in the case of checkpoints, saying the potential safety benefits outweigh the inconvenience people driving through them have to experience.
What are Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint?
If you’re driving under the influence, you’re looking at potentially hefty fines and a lot of jail time. But if you’re at a checkpoint, and an officer believes there are grounds to arrest you for DUI, you always have to remember that you have rights.
A lot of people think they have to take a field sobriety test when asked to do so by an officer. But that’s not the case at all. Your refusal can’t be used against you – one of the reasons is that this test is oftentimes anything but accurate. If you’re asked to take a Breathalyzer test, that’s something else entirely – even though this test has issues as well. You could face the loss of your driver’s license for an extended period of time.
If I Know Where a Checkpoint is, Can I Avoid it?
It can be scary for someone to come upon a DUI checkpoint – especially if they’re worried they could be arrested. Many of them will try to avoid the location entirely if they can. If you find yourself in this position, pay close attention to the next section.
You Can Legally Avoid DUI Checkpoints, but Only by Making Legal Traffic Maneuvers
There are only two choices for a motorist who is approaching a DUI checkpoint. They can simply move through it, or they can try to find an alternate route to get around it. You have the right to take “door number two,” but you’re going to have to be extremely careful.
If you can get around the checkpoint without garnering attention from an officer – or committing a traffic violation – then you should do so if you have any reason for concern. Just remember that if you make some sort of sudden move, that’s likely to catch an officer’s eye. This will be the case even if you make a perfectly legal U-turn, or you go down a side street. If you quickly accelerate, that could be a red flag.
What do I do If I’m Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint?
The most important thing you can do if this happens is to breathe. Stay cool, and stay calm. Even if you’re arrested, there’s no guarantee the charge will hold up in court. Don’t yell, don’t argue, and, above all, don’t resist. The officer’s car will have a dashboard camera that will capture every move you make.
Officers must read an arrestee their Miranda rights. You have the right to remain silent. Other than your name, you don’t have to say anything else. Keep that in mind at all times. Also, take detailed notes of everything that happens during and after your arrest. A police officer has to follow several different protocols when arresting someone for DUI – any kind of mistake on their part could lead to your case being thrown out.
Above all, call a DUI defense attorney with Sand Law as soon as possible. We’ll do everything we can to help you put this frightening chapter behind you so you can get on with your life. Contact us online for a consultation, or call 701-609-1510. It won’t cost you anything, and it could make all the difference in your case.