The typical arrest for driving under the influence, or DUI, occurs when you are pulled over by a police officer, but being checked for DUI at a roadblock or checkpoint is also a possibility. Anyone concerned about the issue of driving under the influence should be aware of these so-called "sobriety checkpoints." This article takes a closer look at this law enforcement tactic.
State laws vary regarding sobriety checkpoints. At one time there was some disagreement about whether these types of stops violated search and seizure laws. In 1990, however, the United States Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints were constitutional. This court decision left the matter to each individual state.
Most states, as well as the District of Columbia, allow sobriety checkpoints. A dozen states prohibit their use. In those states where the practice is allowed, the frequency with which checkpoint are conducted varies. Some states may hold checkpoints every week, while others might schedule them once or twice a month. In Delaware, they are conducted monthly in the first half of the year and weekly in the second half. Other states may not have set schedule, but simply conduct them at various times throughout the year.
Many states will schedule their sobriety checkpoint during certain holidays, such as New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July, because they feel that more people are going to drive under the influence during these times.
If you are ever stopped at a sobriety checkpoint it's important that you know your rights. First, you are not required to answer the officer's questions. You do not have to answer any inquiries about whether you have had anything to drink or have taken any drugs. You are not required to submit to a field sobriety test, such as walking in a straight line. You may have to submit to a blood test in some cases, depending on the laws or your state. An Important point to keep in mind is that field sobriety tests are subjective and open to interpretation. For this reason, consenting to take a field sobriety test will rarely help your cause.
It is virtually impossible for anyone who is arrested for a DUI at a sobriety checkpoint to deal with the problem successfully unless they have expert legal advice. If you are ever stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and charged with a DUI, contact an attorney like H Edward Andrews III.Share