The simple thought of driving into a DUI checkpoint will give you the chills. So, if you find yourself in this position, don't be surprised if your palms sweat and your stomach does a little lurch.
Fortunately, if you know what to expect at a DUI checkpoint and how to react, you put yourself in position to avoid trouble, even if you've had a drink or two.
Making your way through a DUI checkpoint unscathed starts with the ability to follow directions and remain calm. The second you put up a fight is the second the officer will dig deeper. And when that happens, an arrest is more likely.
Here are the types of things you should never say at a DUI checkpoint:
- It's illegal to stop my vehicle: In the state of Virginia, police are legally permitted to set up DUI checkpoints. Telling the officer they're violating the law will escalate what could be a simple and straightforward stop.
- I'm not getting out of my vehicle: Don't assume that the officer will ask you to get out of your vehicle upon reaching your window. This could happen at some point, but it's not likely as long as you keep your cool.
- You can't make me take a field sobriety test: While this is true, neglecting to do so will give the officer reason to put you under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence.
- I only had one drink a few hours ago: Don't give the officer any reason to believe you've been drinking. When they ask if you have alcohol in your system, tell them no and don't provide additional information to back up your claim. Saying too much can make you appear guilty.
Even if you take these steps, you could still be put under arrest at a DUI checkpoint. This is when you really need to think twice about your actions, as anything you say or do can haunt you during your court hearing.
Once you're processed and released, immediately collect evidence and documentation and formulate a defense strategy. You can be put under arrest for driving under the influence, but it doesn't always lead to a conviction.