DUI Check Points

In recent years, law enforcement officers across the United States have begun utilizing more aggressive tactics to identify and apprehend drunk drivers. One of the most common measures is enacting DUI checkpoints near busy roads and intersections. Although such safety checks are designed to deter and protect motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol, the truth is that many drivers are falsely arrested during these checkpoints. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect yourself if you are ever stopped during a DUI roadblock.

To prevent individuals from false arrest, the U.S. Constitution sets some pretty clear boundaries for legal officials. Detailed in the Fourth Amendment, these guidelines protect citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” requiring officers to have valid legal grounds for searching and/or seizing a person’s property.

Under this constitutional stipulation, a legal authority must have probable cause to suspect a person has committed a crime before a search can be performed. In addition, the officer must seek approval from the court and, if the request is granted, a search warrant must be issued before he or she can legally conduct a search.

Of course, like most rules, there are a few exceptions to this one as well—if the person consents to a search, for example, or the officer does not have time to obtain a warrant, the requirements may not be enforced. What’s more, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, DUI checkpoints are also such an exception. Nevertheless, there are certain precautions that can be taken to avoid being arrested during a DUI checkpoint.

First and foremost, know that if you are ever stopped in a roadblock, you are not legally required to answer any questions other than those pertaining to your identification (such as your name, address, etc.). If the officer asks you where you’ve been or if you’ve had anything to drink, for example, you should exercise your legal right to remain silent. In fact, it is best to decline to answer any other questions that do not relate to your identity, as anything you say can be used against you in court if you are arrested.

Because most states do not require drivers to perform field sobriety tests, you should also decline to perform any such activities (such as balancing on one foot or walking an invisible line) if you are asked to do so—and if they are required in your state, the officer is legally obligated to tell you.

Finally, be aware that officers are required to follow certain guidelines before enacting a DUI checkpoint. Therefore, if you are arrested during a roadblock and the proper procedure was not followed, the charges against you may be unjustified.