Even if you’re sober, the thought of going through a DUI checkpoint is enough to make you cringe. The experience can be nerve-wracking, even if you haven’t done anything to arouse the suspicions of the officers working the checkpoint.
Fortunately, when you know what to expect at a DUI checkpoint, you can help make the stop as quick and painless as possible.
The first thing to remember is that police are closely watching every vehicle that approaches a checkpoint. They’re looking to see how fast you’re driving. They’re looking to see if you’re swerving. And of course, they’re closely monitoring vehicles that break any law, such as making an illegal U-turn.
What to expect
As your vehicle comes to a stop at a DUI checkpoint, you should expect an officer to come to your window. They’ll ask for your insurance, license and registration, so make sure you know exactly where to find these items.
From there, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions, such as:
- Where are you coming from?
- Where are you going?
- Have you consumed any alcohol?
- Do you have anything in your vehicle that’s illegal?
All the while, the officer is looking for any signs of impairment, which can include but is not limited to:
- Slurred speech
- Smell of alcohol in your vehicle
- Lack of coordination
- Bloodshot eyes
If everything checks out, the officer will tell you to proceed through the checkpoint. However, if they have reason to believe you’ve been drinking, the officer will likely ask you to step outside your vehicle to undergo one or more field sobriety tests. These can include:
- Finger to nose
- Walk and turn
- One leg stand
- Horizontal nystagmus
All of these tests, along with a Breathalyzer, give the officer an idea of whether or not you should be operating a motor vehicle.
If you’re put under arrest, don’t resist or say anything that will be used against you in the future. Don’t volunteer any information that could be construed as an admission of guilt. Instead, remain calm and provide only information, like your name and address, that allow police to identify you.
Try to document as much of the incident as possible. That way, you can go over what happened at the checkpoint with a criminal defense attorney. The more information you can gather, the better your DUI defense strategy is likely to be. The goal should always be to avoid a conviction, if possible.