You have gone out on the town, whether it was to a friend’s house or the local bar, and you are on your way home. You see signs and flashing lights and wonder what in the world could be going on. As you get closer, your stomach drops and you begin looking for any opportunity to turn around. You’ve run smack into a DUI checkpoint. What are your options?
Many people believe that they are required to move through the checkpoint simply because it is in place. The truth is that you are not legally required to travel through the checkpoint. Here’s what you need to know.
Once you’ve spotted the DUI checkpoint, you can certainly turn around to avoid it if it is safe to do so. Keep in mind, however, that police are used to people doing this. If you turn down a side street or even make a legal U-turn, you could get home without incident. If, on the other hand, you violate some type of traffic law when you turn away from the checkpoint, you can reasonably expect an officer to quickly be on your tail. Your avoidance didn’t do anything but get you in more trouble.
Let’s say that you come up on the checkpoint and decide to ignore the officer who is directing you toward the line of cars waiting to go through. This is not permissible. You are being given a lawful order by the police and it would be in your best interests to follow it. Should you decide to keep driving and bypass the checkpoint, chances are high that you will be pulled over just past the checkpoint anyway.
You decide that you don’t have any option but to go through the checkpoint and cross your fingers. It’s important to remember that your constitutional rights still apply. You are not required to consent to a search of your vehicle and you are not required to answer any questions. The flashing lights and the sheer number of police officers present is enough to make anyone nervous, but don’t incriminate yourself. The only thing you are required to provide is identifying information and basic facts.
When you have been out for a night with friends and drive up to a checkpoint, how you behave is up to you. While you certainly have every legal right to avoid the checkpoint, it is not always safe to do so, and you may just end up drawing more attention to yourself than you intended. DUI checkpoints are in place to keep people safe, and the police take running these checkpoints very seriously.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, call our office. We will review the details of your stop during a case evaluation and advise you of your legal rights. We understand the stress you are under and would like to offer our assistance. Call today to schedule your consultation.