Fall is here and that means football games, haunted hayrides and harvest festival season are underway. This means that the police will be setting up sobriety checkpoints throughout the country. Their aim is to identify impaired drivers in order to keep the roadways safe.
Some folks may feel that these checkpoints are a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights, which states that the people have a right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” However, back in 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints are legal. That ruling is still in effect today,
Do I have to comply at a sobriety checkpoint?
You are not legally bound to comply at a sobriety checkpoint. You have to right to remain silent and not answer any questions. However, if you refuse and the officer thinks that you are intoxicated, you will be arrested on suspicion of drunk or impaired driving.
Therefore, if you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, the best thing you can do is comply. The police will ask you where you have been and if you have been drinking. Answer them truthfully and you will probably be sent on your way. Should the police suspect that you have been drinking, they will ask you to pull over. Then, they will administer a field sobriety test or a breath alcohol test. If you fail the test, you will likely be arrested.
Can I turn around to avoid a sobriety checkpoint?
You have the right to turn around to avoid a checkpoint if you can safely do so. Keep in mind that should the police notice you turning around, they may decide to follow you and pull you over if you give them probable cause through any traffic violation. If you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and end up being arrested, do not try to fight the charges by yourself. You will need guidance to help you get the best possible outcome.