How To Avoid An Arrest At A DUI Checkpoint
Surprisingly, driving unimpaired will not safeguard you from being behind bars. Quite often, drivers find themselves in the backseat of a police car even without having consumed a drop of alcohol. The reason being, people are unaware of their rights and are uneducated as to how to handle themselves at a DUI checkpoint. Follow these tips below and significantly reduce your chances of being arrested:
- Have your paperwork ready. A surefire way to ruin your night is to reach a DUI checkpoint without your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Even if you are not worried about a DUI checkpoint, these forms of paperwork should always be ready to present to a police officer. The more interaction you have with police officers at a DUI checkpoint, the greater the likelihood of you being arrested. Expect to hold a lengthy conversation if you hit the road without them.
- Set the rules in your car. Do not allow your passengers to set the tone in your own vehicle. Never allow alcohol, drugs, or anything incriminating inside your car. Regardless of who owns what inside your car, you can still be arrested and face criminal charges.
- Stay calm. It is very common for people to be nervous at a checkpoint. Nobody likes having a flashlight in their face and being asked where they are going. However, looking nervous raises a red flag because it is commonly associated with attempting to hide something. So, even if you are nervous, keep calm and collective. Do not give police officers a reason to hold you longer than necessary.
- Instruct your passengers to stay quiet, be polite, courteous, and respectful. You may know how to conduct yourself at a DUI checkpoint, but your passengers might not. You may be behind the wheel because you are the designated driver for the night, but your intoxicated passengers can still get you in trouble. Police officers cannot question or interrogate your passengers, but they can and will engage in casual conversation. BE AWARE, this is a tactic police officers use to illicit incriminating statements.
- You do not have to disclose everything to the police officer. “Where are you coming from” and “where are you headed to” are questions that many of us have come across at DUI checkpoints. People often make the mistake of trying to get out of an arrest by giving half-truths. Telling the police officer that you just came from the bar and only had one drink will not get you far. In fact, this is music to the police officer’s ears. Do not give any information regarding your last drink, what medical conditions you have, how tired you are, or when you last slept. Everything the police officer does has a purpose. Your purpose is to pass the DUI checkpoint, so do not be a victim to self-incrimination.
- Do not consent to a search. The 4th Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures absent consent or probable cause. Assuming the officers do not believe that criminal activity is afoot, refrain from consenting to a search. Refuse the search politely and respectfully, and inform the police officer that you understand your rights to refuse a search absent probable cause and consent. This may annoy the police officer, which may be intimidating, but remain calm and non-combative.