Do You Have to Stop at a DUI Checkpoint?

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In Indiana, you’ve probably noticed a surge of DUI checkpoints, license checks, and increased patrols on Indiana Roadways, lakes, and rivers around major holiday weekends and sporting events. 

Any drunk driving defense attorney is familiar with people who have been involved in DUI checkpoints or otherwise known as roadblocks.  The checkpoints are often described as for being for things other than DUI but the affect is still the same.  The police stop your car for reasons other than bad driving. The question often asked is whether this practice is legal? Yes, it is legal, and it does serve a purpose for the public’s general safety. However, if you were caught up in a checkpoint and received a DUI because of it, you’re not out of options.

Legal Actions and Arrests at Checkpoints

The conduct of the officer before and after the time of arrest may greatly impact the outcome of your case. Checkpoints are temporary and at random locations. So, if you believe that the checkpoint specifically targeted you or your region of the city, that may also impact your case.

So, what is legal action at a checkpoint? The purpose of all DUI checkpoints is to remove drunk or inebriated drivers from the road correctly and safely. That means that they cannot infringe upon the driver’s rights either.

What can an officer do at a checkpoint? Officers may:

  • Check the license of the driver.
  • Perform a field or chemical sobriety test.
  • Check that the registration on the vehicle is current and accurate.
  • Screen for outstanding warrants.
  • Check passenger’s identification.
  • Ask questions which may seem irrelevant to the roadblock such as, “Where have you been tonight?”
  • Search for a weapon if there is a reason to believe there is a weapon in the vehicle.

Incorrectly Held or Arrested on a DUI

If you were incorrectly held, arrested, or charged with a DUI at one of these traffic stops, then you need legal help. DUI checkpoints have long come under scrutiny in which the people arrested, or victims, in this case, will argue that they were not intoxicated.

Many claimants argue that they were only provided field sobriety tests or that they outright passed tests and were still arrested. Why does this happen? DUI roadblocks are often big affairs for police departments as a way to show off how many people they can arrest under the suspicion of a DUI.

Unfortunately, that means many police officers feel pressured to issue more arrests than are warranted. The result is that many people face unnecessary and outright unjust DUI charges. These charges can ruin a life, financial stability, and lead to issues with employment. It’s not fair, and you need a DUI attorney from Indiana to help.

DUI Attorney in Indianapolis Explanation on Sobriety Checks

Part of the aspect of a sobriety check is that they must honor all the driver’s rights, which means they must move very quickly from one vehicle to another. So, if someone was acting inebriated but passed both field and chemical sobriety tests, then they cannot detain them without proper grounds.

It is rare for an officer to say a person passed the field sobriety tests.  One cannot pass or fail a properly administered field sobriety test because neither passing or failing is a proper result.  One either exhibits the requisite number of clues or they don’t.

The bottom line is you not required to perform the field tests.  Our advice is that you politely refuse any sobriety tests.  The officer cannot use that agains you and you cannot be compelled to perform the tests.

Similarly, at a roadblock situation, you have no obligation to take a roadside breath test.  If you are requested to take one, politely decline. The roadside PBT will NEVER help you.

Now, if you roll down the window and it clearly smelled of alcohol, they may use that as grounds to begin searching. Additionally, if they can visually see drug paraphernalia, they may use that as grounds to search your vehicle for drugs or other drug accessories.

An Indiana DUI Attorney Can Help

As you prepare to defend yourself against the DUI charge, you received, it may seem like you’re out of options. That’s not true. Legal help is exactly what you need in this situation. If you were arrested as part of a mobile traffic stop, or otherwise known as a DUI roadblock, then you need someone to fight for your side. The Indiana DUI lawyers at the Rathburn Law Office are ready o help those who received a DUI in any situation.

We often work with unique cases and understand that the specifics of your case will greatly impact how it goes through the court system and what consequences you may face.