Few offenses can derail your life faster than a DUI. By the time a judge or jury convicts you of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may spend thousands in legal fees. You could also lose your driving privileges and spend some time in jail. As such, you must be careful never to drink and drive.
Suppose, though, that you do wind up behind the wheel after consuming a few too many beers. Then, on your way home, you see a sobriety checkpoint. Whether you are above the legal limit or perfectly sober, DUI checkpoints can be nerve-wracking. Here are some tips for handling a sobriety checkpoint.
Understand the legality of sobriety checkpoints
You may think sobriety checkpoints violate your Fourth Amendment rights. That generally is not the case, however. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized the legality of these checkpoints decades ago. Still, for checkpoints to pass legal muster, police must conduct them in a specific way. If officers fail to follow the rules, you may successfully argue that your stop violated the U.S. Constitution.
Do not avoid the checkpoint
If police set up a sobriety checkpoint on a road you are traveling, you should not attempt to avoid it. Officers can use your sudden detour as probable cause to pull over your vehicle. Therefore, as you approach the checkpoint, you should stop your car and follow officer instructions.
Behave cautiously and responsibly at the checkpoint
The success of your DUI case may depend on how you act the DUI checkpoint. When an officer approaches your vehicle, try to be respectful and courteous. You do not have to allow officers to search your car. You also do not have to consent to either a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test. While officers may choose to arrest you, refusing these tests may give prosecutors fewer facts to use against you in court.
You work diligently to be a productive member of society. If you find yourself at a sobriety checkpoint, however, your livelihood and liberty may be in jeopardy. By understanding how to handle sobriety checkpoints, you may boost your chances of avoiding significant consequences.