DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) checkpoints are becoming more and more common. They are now legal in 39 states, North Carolina being one of them. A DUI or DWI checkpoint is a designated spot where police stop vehicles in order to catch people drinking and driving. While these checkpoints are perfectly legal, you do have rights in the event that you get stopped at one. Knowing your rights in advance can help you to remain calm and follow the best possible procedure during your stop. If you are ever stopped at a checkpoint and charged with any offense, contact a DUI defense attorney in Greensboro as soon as possible following the incident.
Basic Rules for DUI and DWI Checkpoints
There are certain rules that accompany police checkpoints, such as:
- Purpose for the checkpoint. There has to be an established purpose for the checkpoint, such as searching for drivers who are intoxicated. The police can’t just stop cars for no particular reason.
- Random selection. The vehicles that are stopped must be selected at random. Police must stop all vehicles or follow a pattern like every fifth vehicle to avoid profiling.
- Checkpoint must be visible. In North Carolina checkpoints do not need to be announced or published. The only indication necessary is the flashing blue lights of a police cruiser.
- Other violations can be cited. It is legal for police to ticket you with other vehicular offenses, but not other unrelated crimes.
What to Do if you Approach a Checkpoint
- Proceed to the checkpoint. Do not attempt to turn around in order to avoid it. Doing so gives an officer the right to pull you over and inquire as to why you are avoiding the checkpoint. Even if you are not intoxicated, purposely evading a checkpoint might look suspicious.
- Slow down. Be sure to slow your speed as you approach a checkpoint. This exhibits that you have control over your vehicle and respect the safety of the officers and other people at the checkpoint.
- Do not admit that you have been drinking. If, in fact, you have been drinking, you have the right to choose not to admit that. If the officer asks you if you have been drinking, politely state that you do not want to answer the question.
- Decline a vehicle search. You also have the right not to consent to a vehicle search. Politely decline if asked.
- Drive away only with permission. If you’re not sure when it is acceptable to drive away, simply ask the officer if you can leave. Do not drive away without permission.
- Decline a field sobriety test. You also have the right to refuse to undergo a field sobriety test. Mention that your lawyer has advised you against it.
- Choose whether or not to consent to a breathalyzer test. You do not have to consent to a breathalyzer. However, if convicted, you may face stricter consequences when you don’t comply, such as the possibility of loss of your license.
If you are stopped at a checkpoint and charged with any violation, call Don Vaughan, a prime DUI defense attorney in Greensboro: (336) 273-1415. Don Vaughan and Associates know your rights and will fight for you in court. A DUI or DWI comes with severe consequences. An aggressive advocate in your corner can make all the difference in court.