or Sobriety checkpoints are temporary checkpoints used by law enforcement officers to catch drunk drivers. In 1990, The United States Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints are not a violation of citizens’ right to privacy, however, that doesn’t mean they are effective. Chief Justice Stevens stated that “the net effect of sobriety checkpoints on traffic is infinitesimal and possibly negative.” In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded that roving patrols by law enforcement officers result in three times more arrests than checkpoints. Although controversial, DUI or sobriety checkpoints do work to show the public that driving under the influence is bad.
So what do you do when you come upon a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Sobriety checkpoint?
The first thing to do is show the officer your identification when asked. If they begin asking you questions, politely decline to answer as is your right. If you answer some questions, but not others, you will only raise suspicion and encourage the law enforcement officer to investigate or question you further. If the officer asks to search you car, respond by telling them that you do not consent to any searches. If you are ordered out of your car by the officer it is important that you lock the doors behind you.
In the event that the officer suspects you of drinking or being under the influence of alcohol, you will be asked to perform a field sobriety test ortest. You DO have the right to decline the test and request to speak with an attorney. This will probably result in your arrest, and the officer will put you in contact with an attorney. When you get to station, request again to speak with an attorney before submitting to any other tests or questions; the attorney you speak to will become a witness to your behavior, noting the clarity of your speech and instructing you on the legal issues involved in your current situation.
Your next move while at the station should be to submit to aor Blood Alcohol Test. You are required by law to submit to a chemical test at the police station. If you refuse the test, your license could be revoked or suspended. It is usually better to submit to a test and then have the results suppressed than to refuse, as the penalty can be just as harsh as a DUI. Breathalyzer tests are more unreliable than blood tests, so if given the option, choose the breathalyzer. Knowing your rights is the most important thing you can do to protect your civil liberties during a DUI arrest.