Car accidents are the leading cause of death among healthy adults in the United States. The most common cause of fatal car crashes is drunk driving. While less than 4% of car crashes are related to drunk driving in Arizona, more than 30% of drunk driving crashes in Arizona are fatal.
Due to the high fatality rate of drunk driving accidents, Arizona law enforcement dedicates much of their time and resources to removing drunk drivers from state and local roadways. One standard method law enforcement uses to crack down on drunk driving is the use of DUI checkpoints.
A DUI checkpoint is a planned, coordinated effort between the county, city, and state law enforcement. The checkpoint itself is a temporary road barricade marked by cones, flares, or floodlights. Typically one officer checks drivers for signs of intoxication as drivers approach in their vehicles while another officer in a separate area conducts field sobriety tests.
Signs of intoxication an officer may be on alert for a while visually inspecting drivers may include:
- Bloodshot eyes;
- An odor of alcohol about a driver; and
- Any visible open alcohol containers in the car.
When an officer suspects a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer asks that driver to pull to the side of the road for further examination. Otherwise, the officer will have the driver continue on their way.
What To Do at a DUI Checkpoint in Arizona
In the event you are unfamiliar with DUI checkpoints or are unsure how to proceed when you encounter a DUI checkpoint, the following advice can help you through the process as smoothly and as quickly as possible while preserving your legal rights. Keep the following in mind at an Arizona DUI checkpoint:
- Stay calm and be ready to present your documentation. Have your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and any other necessary documents in your hand and ready to present to the officer, and lower your window a reasonable amount to hand these items to the officer. This eliminates any opportunity for the officer to say you had to fumble around for your identification.
- Do not volunteer information. Politely and directly answer the officer’s questions. Preferably use yes and no for your answers. Do not volunteer details about whether you were drinking or where you are coming from or going to. Any extra information may be used against you at a later time.
- Do not run through a checkpoint or make an illegal U-turn to avoid a checkpoint. Running through a checkpoint or making an illegal U-turn to avoid a checkpoint makes you look bad and could incite a police chase.
- Do not volunteer to let an officer search your car. If an officer has probable cause to search your vehicle, he or she may do so. However, there is no reason to voluntarily allow an officer to search your car.
- It is OK to refuse the field sobriety test. If an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test at the scene, such as walking a straight line or following an object with your eyes, you can refuse. It is crucial to decline politely. Never act in a belligerent or rude manner when speaking to an officer.
- You may want to submit to a breathalyzer. There are reasons you might want to submit to a breathalyzer, such as:
- Arizona is an implied consent state. When you received your driving privileges, you automatically consented to a chemical test for alcohol;
- If you refuse a breathalyzer, you may be detained and taken for a blood test. If you refuse, the officer can obtain a warrant for a blood draw by force;
- Experienced DUI attorneys know how to fight breathalyzer results from all legal angles, from the legality of the checkpoint to the functionality of the breathalyzer itself; and
- Refusal may immediately impact your driver’s license.
- If an officer places you under arrest, contact an experienced Scottsdale DUI lawyer. If something does go wrong and an officer places you under arrest, do the following:
- Remain calm;
- Exercise your right to remain silent; and
- Request an attorney.
It is wise to exercise your right to remain silent as the state can use anything you say or do against you at a later time.
Remember, if you are sober, stay patient. You will move through the DUI checkpoint fairly quickly. DUI checkpoints are a temporary delay meant to keep you and everyone else on the road safe from intoxicated drivers.
An Experienced DUI Checkpoint Defense Attorney Can Help You
If a police officer arrested you or someone you know at a DUI checkpoint, there are professionals who can help. The DUI defense attorneys at Rosenstein Law Group regularly defend people just like you against DUI checkpoint arrests, and we want to help you find a solution to your charges.
At Rosenstein Law Group, our attorneys will attack all aspects of a DUI checkpoint on your behalf. These may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The time, location, and duration of a checkpoint;
- Whether the checkpoint followed any established supervisory guidelines;
- If the checkpoint was apparent and visible to oncoming motorists as a police checkpoint;
- How long police detained motorists at the checkpoint;
- Whether police stopped motorists randomly;
- The weather during the checkpoint;
- Your health or physical limitations at the time of the checkpoint; and
- Your nervousness during the experience.
Do not put your future or freedom on the line. Rosenstein Law Group has the experience, skills, and knowledge needed to provide an effective, strategic defense on your behalf.
At Rosenstein Law Group, our attorneys will handle all aspects of your DUI case and will explain your legal options to you in full. It is imperative that you clearly understand both the benefits and downsides of any legal choice before making a decision.
Call or email Rosenstein Law Group for your free initial consultation. Our DUI defense attorneys are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to take your call.