Sobriety checkpoints, also known as DWI checkpoints or roadblocks are becoming a more common occurrence across the country. Many people are unsure of their rights at these checkpoints, and this article will explain your rights at a sobriety checkpoint.
- You have the right to refuse searches of your person and vehicle, unless the officer has probable cause or a warrant. If an officer asks to search your vehicle or person, politely refuse if you do not wish to be searched. Do not physically try to stop the officer from searching you.
- You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, even if the officer suspects you are under the influence. If asked to preform field sobriety tests, such as reciting the alphabet backwards, or standing on one leg, politely refuse. These tests can hurt you in court.
- You have the right not to answer any questions, but you may be required to show your driver’s license. If you choose not to answer and questions, politely notify the officer.
- You have the right to avoid sobriety checkpoints by making legal traffic maneuvers, however, you will probably be pulled over for avoiding the checkpoint, as the officer may suspect you are avoiding the checkpoint because you have something to hide; however, the act of avoiding a checkpoint is not illegal, unless you break traffic laws in the process. Checkpoints are usually set up so that by the time you see the checkpoint there will be no way to turn around without breaking any traffic laws.
- You have the right to consult an attorney before answering any questions.
- You have the right to ask if you are being detained. If you are not being detained, the officers are required to let you go.
- Although in most instances, officers are not allowed to set up seat belt or other types of checkpoints, they will be looking for other violations such as failing to wear a seat-belt, or expired tags, the smell of marijuana, etc.