Understanding Your Rights At A DUI Checkpoint
While drinking to excess and getting behind the wheel is always a bad idea, most people who drink and drive don't realize that they've had too much to drink. For this reason, it's usually best to avoid drinking at all if you plan on driving. Regardless, DUI checkpoints are commonplace in many police departments, especially on weekends and holidays. Should you ever encounter a DUI checkpoint, regardless of whether you've been drinking or not, it's important to know how to best protect your rights.
DO Remain Calm and Polite With Officers
For starters, always remain courteous and polite with a police officer at a DUI checkpoint. This remains true of any encounter with police; if you're hostile from the start, you're going to raise red flags. Roll your window down as you approach the checkpoint and be prepared to hand over any documentation asked of you (such as your license and registration).
DON'T Think You're Required to Perform Roadside Tests
Roadside sobriety tests are not only inaccurate, but agreeing to them could end up getting you in more trouble--especially if you're not particularly agile. Many of these tests require coordination and balance that you may not have, regardless of your level of sobriety. Furthermore, there are medical conditions that can prevent you from being able to perform them, so don't be scared to politely decline.
DO Agree to a Breath Test if Needed
Of course, if you don't agree to roadside sobriety testing, there is a chance that a police officer will instead ask you to submit to a breath test. In most cases, you're going to want to agree to this test or risk being arrested if the officer has probable cause to do so. From there, you may be forced to have a blood draw in order to determine your blood alcohol level, so a breath test is the easiest way to get things over with.
DON'T Volunteer Excessive Information
Last but not least, understand that you're under no legal obligation to answer any police officer's questions about your drinking (or lack thereof). You do not need to tell an officer if you've been drinking and you most certainly do not need to disclose the number of beverages you consumed before driving.
Hopefully it won't come to this, but if your checkpoint experience ends in an arrest, your best bet is always to contact a DUI attorney for further guidance and representation. You can also visit websites like http://www.chichesterlaw.com.