What is a DUI checkpoint and What are my Rights?
Despite numerous states finding that DUI checkpoints are unconstitutional and violate a person’s 4th amendment rights, Arizona law enforcement routinely conducts them. The frequency of DUI checkpoints varies, but they most commonly occur on weekends during the late night or early morning hours. Although Arizona courts have found these checkpoints to be constitutional, that doesn’t mean you have lost your other constitutional rights.
DUI checkpoints can be conducted just about anywhere, but they are typically placed near high traffic areas where people may be drinking, like concerts or sporting events. They are especially popular near holidays, such as the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. As you approach a checkpoint make sure you remain calm and collected and that you are driving cautiously. DO NOT swerve or make abrupt starts or stops with your vehicle. You are not legally required to proceed to the checkpoint. It is perfectly legal to lawfully turn around and drive down a different road. However, if you choose to do this make sure that you do not conduct any type of illegal driving maneuver. If you perform an illegal maneuver or turn near the checkpoint it will likely raise suspicions and law enforcement will still perform a traffic stop.
Once you are stopped, know that the officer is going to request that you provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration. Recently, there has been a popular rise in YouTube videos depicting individuals pulling up to a checkpoint, leaving their window up and showing their license and registration through the window. Although some of these individuals have successfully made it through the checkpoint without further issues, most end up escalating the situation. If you become argumentative or combative you could be arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, or something worse.
At some point during your interaction with police, if they suspect you may be impaired, they will ask that you perform some field sobriety tests. You have the right to refuse these tests and you should. These tests are difficult for sober people to perform and your performance will be used against you. Even if you believe you “passed” the tests, the results will be used by the officer to justify an arrest.
Although DUI checkpoints have been deemed legal in Arizona, there are still specific procedures that police are required to strictly follow. Any deviation from these requirements will likely result in your case being dismissed in court.
It is vital that you remember that if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint you are legally required to provide the officer with your driver’s license, insurance and registration. You are not required to provide them with anything else or to answer any other questions, EVER. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI as a result of a DUI checkpoint, contact Oliverson & Huss Law today for a free case analysis.