In the event that you are driving a vehicle through a drunk driving checkpoint and you are picked out, you will be signaled to pull your motor vehicle over to a safe location for a random checkpoint stop. The police officer will ask you for your driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. You may also be asked questions such as where you are going or where have you been. The police officer will carefully look you over while you answer the questions and look for indications of impairment.
Depending on your behavior, the officer might think you're impaired. This may be due to the fact you have physical signs such as:
- Smell of alcohol on your breath
- Sloppy clothing
- Flushed face, watery eyes, etc.
- Slurred speech
The officer may also look at your general composure and how you are handling yourself while getting the documents they requested. This is because intoxicated individuals usually have difficulties locating and producing their driver's license or the any of the other documents requested.
In the event that the officer notices these signs of impairment, then the police officer will probably believe you are intoxicated and order you to exit your vehicle. After exiting your car or truck you will probably be given roadside field sobriety test, or perhaps a breath test. In the event that you "fail" the tests, or if you decline to submit to them, you will be arrested and taken to jail. You might be requested to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, and/or urine.
Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?
In accordance to the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, in order to stop an individual's motor vehicle and pull a person over, the law enforcement officer must have at least a reasonable suspicion that an individual has committed or was about to commit a criminal offense. Because of this, you would likely think that drunk driving checkpoints/roadblocks set up to randomly check motorists for intoxication would be unconstitutional. However, that is not true.
Back in 1990, the United States Supreme Court upheld correctly conducted drunk driving roadblocks/checkpoints are constitutionally allowable. The court reasoned that decreasing intoxicated/impaired driving outweighed any constitutional concerns that roadblocks may violate.
Even though the United States Supreme Court gave Drunk Driving road blocks the OK, some state constitutions still found them to be impermissible. This means that they are not authorized as well as are never used in a small minority of states today. However, in the majority of states they are allowed as well as carried out, though the way they are conducted may differ considerably from state to state.
Police Must Follow State Guidelines For Roadblocks
Though the United States Supreme Court held sobriety checkpoints or roadblocks to be constitutional, they must be correctly executed with set procedures and guidelines. Regulations theoretically to make it harder for law enforcement to intrude on your right to privacy. They prevent law enforcement from just setting up roadblocks or checkpoints anywhere, anytime, and stopping whoever they desire. The Supreme Court didn't state precisely or exactly what these guidelines were, but rather left it up to each state to develop their own procedures.
Roadblock or field sobriety checkpoint cases are unique to other drunk driving cases. The prosecution's burden of proving your stop was a legitimate one requires establishing that the roadblock complied with the local laws and guidelines.
What To Do If You're Stopped At A DUI Roadblock
If an officer asks you to pull over and hand over your identification, you must comply with the officer. In the event that you're asked if you have been drinking, you are not required to answer. An individual does not have to perform the roadside field sobriety tests either.
Though you may not be advised that you have this choice as to whether or not you submit to the chemical tests or roadside test, you always have the option of declining. It is critical to fully understand that you can never be compelled to incriminate yourself, and therefore the police cannot compel you to say or do anything that would help give them probable cause for your arrest.
You have the right to remain silent, and you should — because whatever you say will most likely be used against you.
A lot of people think that honesty is the best policy, that if you admit to the police you had a couple drinks but are not drunk you will be OK. However, this may not be the best choice. The breath tests can produce invalid results, and you should never trust a machine to be as reasonable as you think an officer will be.
In the event that you have been arrested for driving under the influence as a result of a roadblock/checkpoint, you will need to contact a skilled Knoxville DUI defense lawyer. Contact the Garza Law Firm PLLC at 888-DUI-CALL (866-893-8413) or 865-329-6982 locally.