DUI checkpoints are used by law enforcement as a means of identifying impaired drivers, and are often at locations and times – early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays – that increase the likelihood of identifying those impaired drivers. Lights and signs mark the roadblock where vehicles are then queued in lines and officers can stop every vehicle – or any ratio previously established before the checkpoint begins.
Should you ever get stopped at a DUI checkpoint, be prepared to stop long enough to answer simple questions which allow the officer an opportunity to check for signs of impairment such as alcohol on the breath, slurred speech, and glassy or bloodshot eyes. If you show no signs of intoxication, you’ll be free to go.
However, if the officers have any reason to believe you’re intoxicated, they will direct you over to the side of the road for further investigation. Typically, you will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety exercises and submit a breath sample to determine the alcohol content of your breath.
Remember that while you are protected by certain constitutional rights, considering these do’s and don’ts will better help you understand those rights and how to conduct yourself if you find yourself subject to further investigation:
* Stop if instructed to do so. DUI checkpoints are legal, and you must stop if you are asked.
* Carefully listen to and follow all instructions given to you by the officer.
* Have all of your documents – driver’s license and vehicle registration – ready before the officer approaches your vehicle.
* Be polite, respectful and remain calm.
* Inform the officer of any medical issues and reasons you may not be able to perform the roadside tests.
* Know that it is your right to decline roadside tests. Declining the tests provides very little evidence with which to convict you, but can also result in your arrest and be argued as consciousness of your guilt by the prosecution.
* Violate any traffic laws. While you are legally allowed to turn around if you see a DUI checkpoint approaching, you need to avoid making any illegal maneuvers while doing so.
* Incriminate yourself by answering questions that would likely illicit an incriminating response, so politely decline to answer those questions.
* Forget that the officer is conducting a criminal investigation, so don’t volunteer information or make small talk.
* Refuse the breath test without knowing all the facts. Your privilege to drive a vehicle in the state of Florida may be suspended if you refuse a lawful test.
As with anything, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It should go without saying that you should never drink and drive – driving after one or two drinks could yield the same results as driving after 10 drinks. But should you find yourself under investigation at a DUI checkpoint, remember to be calm, respectful and polite.
Be sure to find a DUI attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in DUI law as s/he will then be able to determine if anything occurred during the checkpoint, tests, or arrest that violated your rights which could potentially help mitigate or negate the charges brought against you.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, don’t hesitate to call John Castro any time day or night. Mr. Castro is a criminal and DUI lawyer with Anton Castro Law dedicated to representing Your Best Interest.