What to do When Stopped at a DUI Checkpoint This Summer
Summer is here and that means vacations, parties and an influx of drinking for some people. Over 900,000 people are arrested every year for DUI and DWI charges with over 1.4 million arrests occurring in 2010 alone, and there is always a noticeable spike in DUI arrests in the summer and around holidays such as the Fourth of July. Due to the increased amount of inebriated people during summer, police have set up numerous DUI checkpoints along many roads and in many waterways to help crack down on offenders. If you’re stopped at one of these checkpoints this summer, remember these important facts and tips to protect your rights, avoid further charges and stay safe.
Getting stopped by the police for any reason can instantly make anyone angry, but lashing out at the police or being severely uncooperative only hurts your case, and it may prompt the police to take action against you if you get out of hand and this can only lead to bad things (i.e. more charges). You’re not obligated to do everything that law enforcement tell you to do when you’re stopped at a checkpoint, but you can politely decline instead of fighting or immediately refusing. Remember, you’re also fully within your rights to merely stay silent.
When Asked, Hand Over Your License and Registration
Legally, you’re required to hand over any proper documentation such as license and registration when asked for it by a law enforcement officer. It’s a good idea to wait until they ask to see it instead of immediately getting it out. Unprompted movements, especially to a glove compartment or pocket, may seem like you’re reaching for a weapon, which can cause a lot of trouble and confusion.
Taking Field Sobriety Tests
Some field sobriety tests are unreliable and inaccurate, which may cause them to result in false charges and arrests. Under the law, you can refuse field sobriety tests (FST). A Breathalyzer is semi-accurate way of determining if a person’s blood alcohol level is within the legal range for driving. This means they can both work for you and against you. Breathalyzer tests can result in false charges or arrests (if you have GERD or Acid Reflux is can cause a false reading), but if your BAC or blood alcohol content is above the legal range it will become evidence against your case. You’re technically allowed to refuse a breathalyzer test, but it’s not recommended. Refusing the test may not be illegal, but it does result in punishments such as immediate suspension of your driver’s license and possibly fines due to the implied consent laws.
Write Out a Detailed Account of the Events
As soon as you’re able to do so, write out an account of the events that took place before, during and after the arrest. Be as detailed as you possibly can. Even the smallest of details can mean a world of difference when you meet with a DUI defense attorney. It can also be incredibly helpful to have this timeline if your memories of the event start to become muddled.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney Immediately
You always have a right to legal representation, and it is in your best interest to exercise that right as soon as possible in this situation. An excellent DUI attorney should tell you what you should and shouldn’t do during the DUI stop and will give you instructions on how to proceed, like going to the hospital to get an independent blood test done. By getting the advice of a DUI attorney prior to answering any of the police officer’s questions you are more than likely giving yourself the best chance to fight the charges. Not exercising your right to legal representation can severely hinder your case, and it may result in additional charges and harsher punishments.
Post provided by Arizona DUI Defense Lawyer, David Michael Cantor. In over 25 years David and his team have over 1,600 documented DUI Victories in the State of Arizona.