Sobriety Checkpoints in Arizona: A Look at Their Legality
Sobriety checkpoints can be set up legally in Arizona. Some drivers may wonder whether police officers have the right to organize such DUI stops. The answer is a short “yes.” While DUI checkpoints are legal in Arizona, there are certain rules that have to be followed. In addition, drivers stopped at such a checkpoint have rights that cannot be violated. Let’s look at the legality of sobriety checkpoints in Arizona.
The Legality of DUI Checkpoints
Sobriety checkpoints in Arizona are permitted due to the fact that driving under the influence has serious consequences.
In order for a DUI checkpoint to be legal, a few conditions have to be met:
- The checkpoint has to be publicized prior to being set up
- There has to be a methodology for pulling over vehicles (for example – every third car), police officers can’t just randomly choose which drivers they’re going to inspect
- The location of the checkpoint should be selected objectively on the basis of relevant information (for example, close to an entertainment venue where alcohol consumption occurs)
- Appropriate traffic signs have to be put in place to reduce the risk of accidents at the sobriety checkpoint
This means there has to be public information and drivers will also see the checkpoint before they reach it because of the signs being used.
Are Checkpoints Constitutional?
Even if you have minor awareness about your constitutional rights, you may probably think that sobriety checkpoints violate these provisions.
According to the fourth amendment, law enforcement professionals need a reason to conduct search and seizure. This means you can’t just get pulled over on the road. To be constitutional, the stop should occur after you’ve violated traffic regulations or if there’s a problem with the vehicle (a broken headlight).
DUI checkpoints are perceived as constitutional in Arizona. Because of the dangers of drunk driving, such stops are seen as an exception to the fourth amendment. For the DUI checkpoint to be constitutional, the conditions mentioned above will have to be met.
Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint
One of the most common questions about DUI checkpoints is whether you could turn around when you see the signs. The answer will depend on the situation.
If the road allows it and you can turn around without violating traffic regulations, you are free to do so.
If you get pulled over, you will have to stop. This does not mean, however, that you are obliged to answer the questions that a police officer is asking or that you have to take a field sobriety test.
Very often, police officers will ask misleading questions. You may be asked about where you’re coming from or if you’ve consumed alcohol. Answering any of these questions could contribute to self-incrimination, even if you believe that you are defending yourself in the best possible way. Remain silent! While a question may appear to be innocent enough, it could have dire consequences.
Whenever law enforcement professionals suspect the consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs, they will ask for a breathalyzer or a blood test to be performed. While technically you have the right to turn testing down, such a refusal will come with consequences. Your license will be revoked, even if you haven’t committed DUI.
A few officer requests you have to comply with include providing your documents, exiting the vehicle when you’re being asked to and remaining cooperative throughout the process. Being aggressive or snarky could be interpreted in the wrong way, thus making your situation more complicated.
People who are arrested at a DUI checkpoint still have options. Calling an experienced Arizona DUI attorney is the first and the most important one. The lawyer knows the drill, which is why they’ll provide easy to follow advice about what to do next.