The way you approach a DUI checkpoint can be the difference between continuing your journey without trouble, and finding yourself charged with a serious crime.
If you have never gone through a DUI checkpoint in the past, you may have some questions about how to act, what to say and what to expect. As nerve-wracking as it may be, with the right guidance, you'll know exactly what you should and shouldn't do.
Here are five mistakes to avoid, as making any of these could raise suspicions and increase the likelihood of an arrest:
- Erratic driving. If you're swerving, starting and stopping, and changing lanes without signaling, police will have reason to believe something is wrong. As you approach a DUI checkpoint, slow down, remain in your lane and move forward in a steady manner.
- Open alcohol bottles. Not only can this result in an open container ticket, but it also gives police a reason to believe you have been drinking. You should never travel with open containers in your vehicle.
- Talking back. If you don't like the way you're treated, it's easy to become defensive. This often leads to talking back to the officer. It may feel good while you're doing it, but it typically results in more harm than good. Regardless of what the officer says, keep your cool, answer the questions asked of you and move on.
- Complaining about your rights. You may feel compelled to tell the officer that they are not legally permitted to stop you at a DUI checkpoint. This isn't true, so it's best to keep your thoughts to yourself.
- Making a sudden U-turn. You are permitted to stop before reaching a DUI checkpoint, but doing so looks suspicious. For example, if you make an illegal U-turn as you close in on the checkpoint, it can result in a traffic ticket and charges of driving under the influence. Instead of doing this, know where checkpoints are set up before you hit the road, as this allows you to avoid them.
Even if you avoid these mistakes, it's still possible to find yourself under arrest at a DUI checkpoint.
If this happens, you don't have to say anything to defend yourself. It's often best to remain quiet. Once you understand why you were arrested for DUI and how to protect your legal rights, you'll have a better understanding of the type of defense strategy to employ.