On Fridays ad Saturdays, long weekends and during the holiday season, police officers in the greater Phoenix area will often set up DUI checkpoints to find drivers who may be impaired by drugs or alcohol. Although the legality of DUI checkpoints have been challenged in many states, Arizona courts have found them to be constitutionally permissible. At a DUI checkpoint, police may stop and contact every automobile which passes through or may contact drivers in a random manner such as every third or fifth car they come into contact with.
To be Lawful, a DUI Checkpoint Must be:
- Publicized - Police must announce there will be a checkpoint in a newspaper, television ad or on a government website
- Planned - Police must determine how or in what manner vehicles will be stopped
- Marked - Police must post signage which informs drivers that a DUI checkpoint is ahead.
How DUI Checkpoints Work?
When contacting someone at a DUI checkpoint, police will usually ask the driver to roll down their window and then engage them in a routine conversation. They will often ask where the driver is coming from, where they are headed, whether they've consumed alcohol, etc. Police will also ask for a person's license and registration. During these conversations, officers are constantly looking for signs of alcohol consumption and impairment such as an odor of intoxicants, flushed face, bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and poor coordination.
If officers suspect that a driver they've contacted at a DUI checkpoint has been drinking, they will likely ask them to pull into a designated location, exit the vehicle and participate in field sobriety tests. Police will commonly administer Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (the "eye test'), a Walk and Turn Test and a One Leg Stand Test to develop probable cause and arrest someone for Impaired Driving.
Your Behavior at a DUI Checkpoint:
If contacted or stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you still have important rights and should take action to avoid being arrested and prosecuted for DUI. As a means of protecting your rights, you should:
1. Stay Calm - Provide required documents to police when requested and be polite. If you are aggressive or panicked, police will be more likely to further an investigation
2. Remain Silent - You are not required to answer any questions about your activities, your destination or alcohol consumption.
3. Refuse Field Sobriety Tests - Participation in the field sobriety tests is completely voluntary. Consequently, you should politely refuse to do any field tests.
4. Don't Make a U-Turn - Unless there is a parking lot nearby to enter, do not make a U-Turn to avoid a DUI checkpoint. Doing so will probably be a traffic violation in itself and result in you being stopped by police.
5. Call a Lawyer - If arrested for DUI in Arizona, you have the right to consult privately with an attorney prior to taking a blood, breath or urine test. You should request to speak with a lawyer immediately upon being arrested and retain a lawyer after being released.
Call (480) 833-8613 For Help With Your DUI Case
Undoubtedly, a DUI conviction will result in very severe penalties. If you are charged with DUI in any city within the greater Phoenix area, you should immediately consult with an experienced DUI lawyer for assistance. Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your drivers license and achieve the best possible outcome for you.
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