The majority of drivers will be stopped at a sobriety checkpoint at some point in their lifetime. It is an eventuality even perfect drivers cannot avoid. These checkpoints exist so law enforcement can spot motorists who are driving under the influence (DUI) and keep the roads safe. If you are ever stopped at a checkpoint, it’s important to know your rights as officers can use the public’s lack of knowledge to their advantage. Here are some facts about DUI checkpoints and laws in California that can help you if you should ever find yourself stopped at a sobriety checkpoint.
What to Do at a DUI Checkpoint
1. Always be polite: Talking to law enforcement can rattle anyone’s nerves. If you do get anxious, remember that this is a mandatory checkpoint and you are not being singled out. Police officers will be looking for suspicious activity and by remaining calm and courteous, you can show them that you do not have anything to hide. Once you answer a few basic questions, the officer will most likely send you on your way.
2. Do not say more than you need to: When you are stopped, an officer might ask you several leading questions about where you have come from on the hope that you will freely admit incriminating information. Do not do it. While it is important to remain polite, after identifying yourself, you do not have to give away any information. If the officer continues to question you, you can invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. By limiting what you say, you can greatly reduce the possibility of self-incrimination.
3. Do not consent to a vehicle search: Without a warrant or probable cause, officers need consent to conduct a search of you or your vehicle. It might feel uncomfortable to say “no” to a police officer, but it is well within your rights to do so. It is a good idea to cooperate within reason, but for many requests, police need your permission.
4. You have the right to deny a field sobriety test: If the police do have any suspicions, chances are good that you may be asked to take a sobriety test. This is another request you are not legally obligated to comply with. An officer may pressure you but you do not have to give consent. It is important to note that once arrested, you are required by law to consent to a chemical test at the police station. Denying this test can lead to serious consequences such as an automatic suspension of your license. If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to submit to this test and contact a DUI lawyer immediately.
What If I Am Arrested?
If you are arrested or charged with a DUI, you should contact Fresno DUI attorneys at Wapner & Jones, P.C. immediately. We have learned through numerous cases and trails how to make every possible effort to protect the rights of our clients. We know your rights and can provide you with a powerhouse defense against even the most daunting of charges.
Schedule a free consultation or call us today at (559) 257-4707.