Your Rights At A Sobriety Checkpoint

April 14, 2014

Arizona and Sobriety Checkpoint Rights

In more than 38 states, sobriety checkpoints have become a part of DUI enforcement as allowed by law.

Sobriety checkpoints are locations where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers passing through the checkpoint for signs of intoxication or impairment.

In Arizona, a sobriety checkpoint can be held in various areas at least once per month and their legality is upheld under the federal constitution.

Since DUI are not targeted and occur randomly, it’s important that you know your rights in a situation involving a DUI checkpoint.

  • Police are not legally allowed to search your car at a checkpoint unless they have probable cause (i.e. you appear to be visibly intoxicated or you smell of alcohol), or if you grant them permission.
  • Police do not have the right to check your driver’s license or registration if a stop is not initiated by a violation unless they have reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.
  • If you do not roll down your window and asked to stop at a roadblock, this may heighten the officer’s suspicion and may give the officer grounds to pull you over to the side of the road. Be cooperative with the officers.
  • You are protected by 5th Amendment rights and as a result do not have to answer any questions if you do not want to. You can simply reply to any question “I don’t wish to answer that question.” If the officer feels that you have in fact been drinking, they will ask you to take a Breathalyzer test.
  • The Breathalyzer test is one of the most common tests and DUI checkpoints. If you refuse this test, the authorities will usually ask you to exit the vehicle and perform a field sobriety test.
  • After this test, the officer has two options: to let you free, or take you into police custody. They will make this decision based on the amount of evidence they have for a DUI conviction.
  • Failing to comply with police could lead to further problems, and refusing a test can often result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for at least one year.

Usually, you’ll be able to find the location of routine DUI checkpoints online or on your local police department’s website, if it is required by law in the state that you live in.

In most states that allow DUI checkpoints, the police must inform the public of the checkpoints far enough in advance for someone to alter their route.

If you have been charged with a DUI, contact a Tucson DUI attorney at Thrush Law Group immediately.

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