What Are Your Rights at DWI Checkpoints?

What Are Your Rights at DWI Checkpoints?

During the summer, many of us enjoy getting together for parties and other celebrations where alcohol tends to flow freely. In response to this, DWI checkpoints are often set up throughout the country, hoping to catch inebriated drivers and holding them accountable for breaking the law and putting others on the road in danger. These checkpoints, which allow drivers to be chosen at random, place a vast amount of power in the hands of law enforcement. However, this does not mean drivers do not have rights.

Know Your Rights

People are often too intimidated at checkpoints to question the actions of a law enforcement officer. However, it is crucial to protect yourself in these situations and ensure your rights are not trampled on.

Understand what your rights are at a DWI checkpoint by reading the following:

  • Upon reaching a DWI checkpoint, you will be asked a series of questions and, depending on your responses, law enforcement officers might choose to evaluate you further. You have the right to decline answering their questions, but your refusal would likely lead to a more severe evaluation, ultimately leading to an arrest.
  • If your vehicle is suspiciously damaged in any way, or you violated traffic laws while approaching the checkpoint or in an attempt to bypass the checkpoint, these could all set off red flags for law enforcement officers, providing reasonable suspicion.
  • Do not lie to law enforcement officers. Remember, you are not obligated to answer their questions, so if you really think that answering their questions will do more harm, refuse to answer to avoid incriminating yourself. Under no circumstances should you ever lie. It will come back to haunt you.
  • After the law enforcement officers finish questioning you, ask if you are free to leave. If they ask you to take a field sobriety test, politely refuse. It is possible you will get arrested as a result, but if they are asking you to perform these tests, they likely decided to arrest you already. By refusing to perform these tests, you can at least prevent them from building up more evidence against you.

Additionally, DWI checkpoints must always be publicized in advance and located in an area that is visible. If there were no notifications of the checkpoint or the signs were not visible, any arrests made at such a checkpoint would likely be considered unconstitutional. More importantly, drivers are not required to cross a DWI checkpoint. If you can safely and legally turn around, you can avoid going through the checkpoint. If an officer believes you are driving erratically, however, you might still get stopped anyway, so proceed with caution.

Schedule a Case Review with a DWI Attorney Today!

Are you facing DWI charges? You do not have to go through this stressful situation on your own. At Cole & Martin Attorneys at Law, LLC, our team of DWI attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and providing fierce legal advocacy. A DWI conviction can affect a person’s life for many years to come, so do not risk your future by failing to hire the assistance you deserve.

Contact our law office today at (417) 213-5441 to schedule a case review with one of our attorneys.

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