Understanding The Legal Process

Arrested At A DUI Checkpoint? Why You Should Question Everything

by Eli Gregory

Being arrested does not necessarily lead to a conviction. It's vital to seek help from a criminal defense attorney and fight against wrongful arrests. When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) arrests, some of those arrested seem embarrassed about the arrest and that could lead to going along with whatever the state prosecutor wants. One type of DUI arrest may be even more likely than any other to present questionable issues. Read and question yourself about the below DUI checkpoint considerations.

Are They Legal?

The fact that some states have found DUI checkpoints illegal might tell you a thing or two about these stops. Also, just because your state allows DUI checkpoints to happen doesn't mean that everything about the checkpoint is legal. States that allow checkpoints usually have several rules governing every aspect of the setup.

Do They Have Probable Cause to Stop You?

Ordinarily, law enforcement must provide a reason for stopping a vehicle. It might be that they spotted erratic driving, they noticed a taillight bulb burned out, or they observed the driver lifting a beer can to their mouth. The rules for what constitute probable cause are loose but there must be a reason for the stop. Not so with DUI checkpoints, however.

When it comes to these checkpoints, probable cause is cited as an overall likelihood that drunk drivers might be on the road. Usually, these checkpoints are timed to coincide with holidays like New Year's Eve or Independence Day. These might be popular dates for drinking more than usual. Also, probable cause for a DUI checkpoint could exist due to a certain event. A music festival, for example, might prompt law enforcement to set up a checkpoint on the road near the festival.

Were You Aware of the Checkpoint?

In almost all cases, the public must be informed of DUI checkpoints in advance. Unfortunately, that announcement might have been easily missed by many. The purpose of the announcement may be to deter those who might otherwise be intoxicated behind the wheel.

Are the Stops Completely Random?

Law enforcement cannot possibly stop every vehicle, at least in most cases, but they also must stop all vehicles in a fair manner. They must plan to stop, for example, every two vehicles and only every two vehicles to avoid allegations of targeting certain types of vehicles or using racial characteristics to determine probable cause. Some exceptions might be made for obviously impaired drivers, however, who are unable to follow directions at the checkpoint.

If you have been arrested because of an illegal DUI checkpoint, speak to a DUI lawyer right away.