DUI Checkpoints and Your Rights
You have rights given to you by the Constitution. Your Constitutional rights do not stop once you approach a sobriety/DUI checkpoint. That’s why it is important to take advantage of these rights by becoming as familiar as you can with them. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we take pride in informing everyone about their Constitutional rights during a DUI/sobriety checkpoint. In this blog, we will outline the rights you have if you are ever stopped during a sobriety checkpoint.
First and foremost, you are free from unreasonable searches and seizures any time you are at a check DUI checkpoint. This right is given to you by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Yes, DUI checkpoints are different than a typical traffic stop. With a typical traffic stop, a police officer cannot stop you unless he or she has reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. With a DUI checkpoint, a police officer does not have to have a reasonable suspicion to stop you.
While opponents dispute the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints, they are legal. Proponents view them as a way to reduce accidents caused by drinking and driving. This controversy does not eliminate your Fourth Amendment right not to have property taken or illegally searched.
Often drivers are waved through a sobriety checkpoint and are not stopped. Each stop is based on a statistical number. For instance, police may stop every ninth vehicle. If your vehicle is stopped a police officer will ask you to roll down your window to talk to him or her. He or she is looking for signs that you are drunk such as:
- Slurred speech.
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Smell alcohol.
If the officer sees no signs that you are drunk, he or she may ask you a couple of questions. For instance, he may ask if you’ve been drinking. The officer will then let you go.
If the officer sees signs that you have been drinking such as bloodshot eyes, he or she may request that you undergo field sobriety tests. Remember, just because police officers notice signs of intoxication does not mean you are guilty of driving under the influence of drugs and/ or alcohol. There are a lot of reasons you can exhibit these signs and not be drunk.
Police do not have the right to detain you at a DUI checkpoint. Any time you are detained, you want to politely inquire if you are being detained. Most of the time, the officer gives a yes or no answer. Sometimes he or she may give an ambiguous answer because they do not have cause, but want to detain you a little longer.
Another right to remember is that you have the right remain silent. The Fifth Amendment gives you this right. It allows you to avoid saying anything that could be used against you at trial. You should always be respectful to police. Promptly comply with his or her requests. You can do all these things and formally tell the officer that want to exercise your right to remain silent.
If you were arrested while going through a DUI checkpoint, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin. We provide free consultations to discuss the particulars of your case. Schedule your consultation today.