Coming across a DUI block checkpoint is unnerving for most drivers, which makes sense considering the stigma and severity of DUI charges in Washington State. If you want to be prepared to handle a DUI block as well as understand exactly what a DUI checkpoint is, this article will prepare you for what usually happens at a DUI checkpoint and what you should do if you ever get stopped at one.
What is a DUI Checkpoint?
A DUI or sobriety checkpoint is where police officers stop drivers to test whether they are driving while impaired. Usually, officers will stop every third or fourth vehicle to evaluate drivers. These DUI checkpoints are usually set up during times of the day (such as weekends, holidays, and evenings) when the highest number of drivers would be impaired.
You may be stopped at a DUI checkpoint even if you are showing no signs of being impaired as these DUI checkpoints often use random selection to stop drivers.
What are a Driver’s Rights at a DUI Checkpoint?
Does an officer have the right to stop me at a DUI checkpoint even if I exhibit no signs of impairment? This is a question that many drivers have concerning DUI checkpoints.
And yes, police officers do have the right to stop drivers at random at DUI checkpoints even if the driver shows no signs of impairment.
Even though this situation is slightly different with police being able to stop you at random, you still possess all of your driving rights in this scenario. For example, while an officer may ask you where you were before arriving at the DUI checkpoint or other probing questions. The answers that you give the officer may be used as evidence against you in a DUI court case so it’s important for drivers to remember that they can exercise their right to remain silent if they choose.
What to Do if You Encounter a DUI Checkpoint
It’s important to remain calm and cool if you encounter a DUI checkpoint. In most cases, officers take into account that drivers will feel nervous or on edge when passing a DUI checkpoint, but it’s still a good practice to keep calm. Here are some tips for what to do if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
Don’t panic or let your anxiety be betrayed. It’s perfectly normal to feel some level of anxiety when stopped at a DUI checkpoint but don’t let your worry get the best of you or it could be seen as a sign of guilt by the officer.
Don’t Give Out Unnecessary Information
Don’t ever tell an officer that you have during the course of the day consumed alcohol. An admission to having consumed alcohol at any point during the day may make the officer wish to have you do a field sobriety test. Similarly, don’t offer extra information such as the location of where you were before encountering the DUI checkpoint or anything else.
It’s best to limit conversation as much as possible with officers as what you say may be used against you in court.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney Today
DUI charges are a serious matter and deserve to be handled with care. The effects of a DUI charge can inhibit your ability to drive as well as limit future career opportunities. If you are facing DUI charges due to being stopped at a DUI block or checkpoint, contact a defense attorney immediately.
Here at Leyba Defense, expert DUI defense attorney Matthew Leyba has had more than a decade of experience defending Seattle drivers from DUI charges. Contact Leyba Defense today to schedule your first consultation and to take control of your legal situation.