There seems to be a lot of confusion and controversy over DUI checkpoints, and what the police can or cannot do within the bounds of the law. While a hassle, a checkpoint is a valid way for officers to identify drunk drivers, but there are certain rules that must be followed. For instance, the checkpoint must be “advertised”, the stop cannot be unreasonably long, and the authorities are required to stop cars at random. So, if you have heard that it is OK to leave your windows up and remain silent, you might be in for a surprise arrest.
We understand it can be difficult to know how to react if you are stopped at a checkpoint, but there are some basics that will help you if you do get stopped. Three things not to do at a DUI checkpoint, as found out by an attorney who claims the closed window/silent treatment is acceptable, include:
- Do not become belligerent or hostile with the officer. Remaining calm helps to keep the situation on an even keel, and could mean the difference between further questioning and being waved through the checkpoint.
- Do not refuse to show identification, or refuse to speak to the police. Having your ID and insurance information ready will expedite the process.
- Do not say too much when you do speak to the officer. It is OK to limit what you say when being questioned at a DUI checkpoint. Saying too much might result in an arrest.
These things were learned the hard way by the attorney that claims you can keep silent. Reports from early September 2015 state a DUI attorney tested this technique, and ended up handcuffed. The story has gained attention nationwide, but it remains to be seen whether a Judge would agree with refusal to roll down your window, or to speak to officers at a DUI checkpoint. Rather than risk an arrest, and possible multiple charges, the better approach is to remain calm and polite. If you believe you were targeted for questioning, an investigation of the facts will reveal the true intent of your car having been stopped. One of our knowledgeable DUI attorneys will help identify factors that are beneficial to your defense, and are here to help you with aggressive defense of DUI charges.
If you have questions about DUI’s and checkpoints, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.