It’s a long holiday weekend and you’ve heard the state police are conducting checkpoints in various places in the next few days. They conduct these checkpoints with good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 29 people die in alcohol impaired-related vehicle crashes in the U.S. every day.
The point of a DUI checkpoint, besides being a deterrent, is to get as many drunk or drug-impaired drivers off the road as possible. They may feel like a nuisance when you’re stuck in one but they save lives and keep the public safe.
Some states don’t allow DUI checkpoints but they do allow ones that check drivers for their license and proof of insurance but can still test for sobriety if they suspect you’ve been drinking.
Sobriety checkpoints are required to be neutral. This means that the officers must follow the same procedures for every vehicle. Every car is stopped. It does not mean that every driver is given a breathalyzer test. Each car is approached and assessed and if the officer feels there is cause to believe you’re intoxicated, you will be taken aside and be asked to take a field sobriety test and possibly a breathalyzer test as well.
When you approach the checkpoint, approach slowly and don’t try to evade. Police watch cars as they approach for signs of intoxication or evading the stop. The checkpoint will clearly be marked to avoid any accidents or confusion. An officer wearing a uniform will approach your vehicle and identify himself or herself and you should be cooperative. Being rude or angry will only get you tested for DUI. Stop for the officer and roll down your window when asked. Yes, the reason the officer leans in by your window is to smell any alcohol on your breath but not rolling down your window will make them think you have something to hide.
They will ask for your license―give it to them. They know you have one because you’re driving. You don’t, however, have to answer when they ask you if you’ve been drinking. Of course, if you haven’t, you should tell them so but an admission that you’ve had anything at all to drink can be used against you. Just tell them that you prefer not to answer.
During your stop, the officers can check your license for outstanding warrants, make sure your license is valid, and determine whether or not you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If they ask to search your car, you have the right to deny them. Without your consent, they have to have probable cause to search your car. (The officer can’t stick his head in your window and look around your car.) This doesn’t mean they’ll let you go, and there’s a good chance they will get that warrant but it’s always better to not let them search your vehicle.
When they are done questioning you, do not drive away until they tell you that you can. If you’re not sure, politely ask if you can go.
Remember, checkpoints are done for everyone’s safety. However, if you are arrested for DUI at a checkpoint, Mercy Bail Bonds can help. Mercy is available 24/7 to get you out of jail fast. Call Mercy today at (727) 856-7775. We always answer.