As the final weekend of summer, Labor Day, approaches and with the Holiday Season being right around the corner, police will be gearing up their DUI patrols throughout Phoenix, Tempe and greater Maricopa County. Often, and as a means to lessen the cost of DUI enforcement, police will set up checkpoints as a means to deter people from driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Most states, including Arizona allow for DUI checkpoints. DUI checkpoints are established by law enforcement with the intention of arresting people for DUI and deterring drivers from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Under Arizona law, law enforcement has the right to perform sobriety roadside checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints or DUI roadblocks are temporary checkpoints used by police to deter drivers from operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. These checkpoints are frequently set up either late at night, or early in the morning after bars have closed or house parties and gatherings are likely to have ended. They can also be set up in areas where accidents are often caused by impaired or drunk drivers.
Police are required to follow specific protocols when operating a DUI checkpoint; Generally, the checkpoint must be publicized. Additionally, they are required to stop each and every car rather than profile a specific class of individuals such as younger drivers. Police must have supervisor approval before establishing the checkpoint and have probable cause before making a DUI arrest.
You are not required to answer any questions about whether or not you have been drinking if contacted at a DUI checkpoint. Many people are arrested simply because they admit to having a "couple of drinks" when interviewed by police. the 5th Amendment says people are not required to incriminate themselves, You can simply remain silent. People often think that honesty is the best policy. Unfortunately, that can often lead to a DUI arrest and conviction.
If you are contacted at a DUI checkpoint, give police your driver's license and registration and insurance. You are required by law to provide these documents to the police officer any time you are pulled over. As the police officer is looking over these documents and talking to you, they will be watching and listening for any obvious signs of impairment. Police also often look for signs of alcohol consumptions such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol on your breath, any open containers in your vehicle, an open admission that you have been drinking or any physical signs of impairment such as fumbling or having difficulty gathering your documents.
You may refuse field sobriety tests such as the eye test, walking a straight line or standing on one leg any time you are stopped by police. You are not legally required to perform these tests and cannot be penalized for refusing them, If arrested however and asked to submit to a chemical test such as a breath or blood test, you have the legal right to refuse, but risk losing your license for one year. If you were arrested for DUI, then you should contact an attorney right away. Roadblock cases are unique to other DUI cases, since the weight of the prosecution's case relies on whether or not the checkpoint was in compliance with local laws and regulations as opposed to police observance of erratic driving behavior. Even if there is damaging evidence against you, you should consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can help defend your case.