There is no exception to the U.S. Constitution when it comes to why a cop can pull you over. Or is there? In a 1990 Supreme Court case, it was ruled that DUI checkpoints were allowed under the Constitution. In other words, the government's interest in catching drunk drivers outweighs a driver's Fourth Amendment rights, as long as checkpoints are run "properly."
Some states have outlawed DUI checkpoints altogether, deciding that they infringe on citizens' constitutional rights. Other states, like Arizona, allow them. If you or someone you love has been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, you are not alone. Local law enforcement agencies depend on these checkpoints to arrest large numbers of motorists for DUI offenses.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a DUI Checkpoint
Of course, running a DUI checkpoint "properly" is the tricky part. And though there are guidelines for how checkpoints are supposed to be run, this doesn't mean an officer won't cross the line. Though Arizona law does not allow law enforcement officers to pull you over based on nothing but a hunch – generally, cops first must have reasonable suspicion – the bottom line is that since Arizona courts have upheld DUI checkpoints, the police can set them up anytime and anywhere.
And you may not have done anything wrong to get caught in one. To make matters worse, if you refuse a blood or breath testing, it will result in automatic suspension of your driver's license for one year. If you are detained for DUI, you should provide identification, refuse to answer any questions, immediately ask for a lawyer, and refuse to take any field sobriety tests. However, do submit to a blood, breath or urine test if asked so you can avoid a driver's license suspension.
Here are a few tips for how you can avoid raising “reasonable suspicion” at a checkpoint:
- Stay calm. Do not joke around or complain about the checkpoint.
- Instruct all passengers to remain quiet and avoid answering any questions.
- If asked, politely provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration.
- Do not answer any questions about how much you have had to drink.
- Do not consent to a search of your vehicle unless the police have a warrant.
- Refuse to take field sobriety tests, but consent to a breath or blood test.
If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint, try to avoid getting angry or combative – it will not help your case. Simply exercise your right to remain silent and request to speak with our team as soon as possible.
Contact Suzuki Law Offices for a Free Case Review!
If you were caught in a DUI checkpoint, you should know that you still have rights. The Phoenix attorneys at Suzuki Law Offices have experience as former state and federal prosecutors, which they can put to work for your case as soon as you give us a call. We are dedicated to fighting for people charged with drunk driving offenses, whether this is your first, second, or third DUI arrest, so please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.
Call our offices today at (602) 842-6762. Your initial consultation is free.
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