DUI Checkpoints – Get Prepared
If you are driving around a hot nightclub or bar on a major holiday evening, you might be stopped as part of a DUI checkpoint. They exist at other times too. Simply put, driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoints are put into place by police at times when they suspect excess drinking might have occurred. Big concerts. Sporting events. Law enforcement ensures public safety by stopping cars.
What Happens at a DUI Checkpoint
It’s a good idea to know what happens at a DUI checkpoint. The police will be there, randomly stopping cars. They usually start around 9 p.m. Police will ask for your driver’s license, insurance and registration.
While the U.S. Constitution prevents unnecessary search and seizure without a warrant, the police do have a right to look briefly inside your car from a window. If people in your vehicle have been drinking heavily, of course the police may be able to smell it. If you or a passenger are inebriated, they may be able to tell from your demeanor or speech.
If they have cause to believe you’ve been drinking, you may be asked to do a field test of sobriety. You may be asked to walk in a straight line, speak without slurring or stand on one leg.
If the results of the field test cause the police to believe you are drunk, they can administer a chemical test. If your blood alcohol count (BAC) registers above 0.8%, you are legally drunk in most states.
If your BAC results are this high, you can be arrested and charged with drunk driving. Do yourself and others a favor and make sure you’re sobered up before getting behind the wheel. And if you aren’t sure, don’t risk it. The consequences are far too serious to leave to chance.
What to Do at a Checkpoint
If you’re ever at a checkpoint, remember the following.
First, if you are stopped, be calm and courteous to the police. It’s not personal. DUI checkpoints are necessary because of the growing number of alcohol-related deaths on the nation’s roads.
Second, keep your driver’s license, insurance and registration where it can be easily found. The glove compartment or on the visor are common places. If you can’t find these easily, or fumble, it may arouse police suspicions.
Third, don’t drink and drive! If you have been drinking, have someone else drive. If you’re alone, call a ride service or a taxi. It is dangerous to you and other people to drink and drive.
Fourth, keep your car in good repair. At a DUI checkpoint, the police will focus on cars with safety features missing. If one of your lights is out or a window cracked, they can cite you.
Consequences of a DUI
While the consequences of a DUI charge vary from state to state, they are severe in every locality. At a minimum, you will be arrested and have to respond in court. Many people charged with DUI hire an attorney.
The consequences of being convicted will include a fine and very likely a steep rise in your insurance rates. You may be subject to time in jail and points on your driver’s license. Your driver’s license could be revoked. If you’re been convicted multiple times, you may be ordered to put a device in your car that will make it impossible to start the car if you’ve been drinking.
Drinking is a serious peril on the nation’s roads. DUI checkpoints are designed to prevent folks who have been drinking from driving. Cooperate if you have been pulled over in one, and don’t drink and drive!