What are my rights at a DUI checkpoint? 46 Answers as of February 24, 2012

I heard they're going to be putting dui checkpoints near my apartment. What rights do I have if they pull me over or start asking me questions?

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
The police have the right to set up checkpoints and ask basic questions. Exactly what the police can do in terms of questioning and other conduct would depend on the facts and circumstances of the particular encounter at the checkpoint. Your rights would also depend on the facts and circumstances. This question is then a hypothetical ( what if ) type of question which can only be answered specifically when the facts and circumstances of a particular encounter are known.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/16/2011
Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
In California, you have implied consent to take a breath test, if asked. For more information, please see my website or call me for a legal consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/14/2011
Law Offices of Michael Stephenson
Law Offices of Michael Stephenson | Michael Stephenson
Most importantly, you must be given the opportunity to drive away from the checkpoint if you don't wish to stop. If you choose to exercise this right, you cannot legally be stopped for doing so unless you (1) commit a traffic violation, or (2) display signs of obvious intoxication.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/14/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
You do not have the right to go through the checkpoint. You must stop and comply with the investigation. If the officer believes there is sufficient reason to believe you are impaired, he may ask you to submit to sobriety tests including a breath, blood or urine test. You may refuse all the tests if you choose, but there are consequences for refusing the tests, so you should consult an experienced DUI attorney to determine how you should respond if subjected to the checkpoint.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 6/14/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
The police can pull you over and ask you to give them a breath sample. They can ask you questions and ask you to do field sobriety tests. The best advice I can give you is to not drink and drive, then you can laugh at the police and blow into their also sensor knowing that they can't arrest you. Even three drinks will get you a DWI arrest, so be careful.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/13/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    You have the right to remain silent if you are being custodially questioned. You do not have to answer anything they ask, however, if you take that position with the police, realize that will only heighten their interest in you and seek ways to arrest you for DWI. Your best bet is to always have a designated driver if you are drinking. Otherwise, avoid such checkpoints like the plague. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Do you plan on driving under the influence? NEVER get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while under the influence. What rights do you have? You can remain silent when asked questions, you have a right to refuse all tests, chemical and physical tests, however, understand in Illinois, if you refuse the breath test, you are looking at a lengthy period of suspension of your driving privileges. My best advice? Don't drive under the influence in the first place!
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You have a right and duty to be compliant and you should. The only correct answer if asked if you have had anything to drink is no, and you should mean it. Police officers can set up checkpoints at various places to check for things like driver's licenses, proof of insurance, equipment checks, seat belt usage, etc., In reality, they are really looking for DUI and illegal drugs whenever possible.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    The Sarbaugh Law Firm
    The Sarbaugh Law Firm | Bruce W. Sarbaugh
    DUI checkpoints are legal so long as they are not overly intrusive. Also, there must be public notice of the where and when the checkpoint will be conducted, as well as signs on the roadway indicating a checkpoint is ahead. The cops can briefly stop you in your vehicle and ask you limited questions. However, if there is an odor of alcohol or you indicate you have been drinking, the cops are justified to conduct a further investigation. You are not required to submit to roadside tests, however if you are arrested, you are required to take a blood or breath test or face the loss of your driver's license for one-year.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    Well, certainly you have the right to remain silent, but be careful. You might be questioned about where you are going, where you have been, or if you have been drinking. In response you can offer your driver license. You can even decline to answer. However, you must understand that if you come across as rude, uncooperative, or worse, the Police, if they believe your actions are due to impairment, have the right to have you pull over to conduct Field Sobriety Tests. It would be all to easy for the questioning Officer to incorrectly observe the objective signs of impairment such as red and watery eyes or slurred speech. The stated goal of the DUI checkpoints is to educate and in doing so create the opportunity to remove drunk drivers form the road. If questioned about anything other than your license and/or registration simply, politely, and firmly ask if you are free to go. In doing so, the Officer should be able to make a quick determination if you actually are demonstrating any of the objective signs. So long as you are not belligerent, and do not display the typical objective signs, the Officer should waive you through.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    Don't drive drunk and you will be fine. Otherwise, as long as the checkpoint is validly set up, they may stop you and let you on your way as long as they do not have reason to believe you are intoxicated or violating some other law.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    First, if you know there is a DUI checkpoint, don't drink and drive to that checkpoint.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Anderson & Carnahan
    Anderson & Carnahan | Stephen Anderson
    Deny Drinking hand over your documents do not do roadside tests and choose a blood or breath test.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    You do not need to answer any of their questions other than providing them with proof of insurance, registration and your driver's license.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You don't have to answer questions. May have to give license, registration and insurance. Ask "Am I under arrest" if told know then free to leave and you should do so.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You are not required to answer a police officer's questions. You can also refuse a field sobriety test. You do, however, have a legal obligation to submit to a chemical breathalyzer test - refusal to do so will generally result in automatic arrest and suspension of your driver's license. If you have not been drinking then it is normally best to cooperate fully with the officers to avoid complications. If you are arrested for DWI then you should contact an attorney immediately who can begin work on securing your release and defending your case. If you are seeking legal representation in Louisiana, we invite you to contact our firm at any time for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    If they have complied with all the legal requirements before setting it up ( giving notice in the media, etc. ) they can stop you. Better not drive DUI. If you do get stopped consult a good lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    In Georgia, you don't have to answer questions or submit to field tests or the breath test, but if you know there will be DUI checkpoints nearby, it is probably best to not drink and drive.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Checkpoints are generally legal with limits too complex to be addressed here. In the meantime you are obligated to cooperate with the police officers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    You may want to check out my web site section on the rules of a sobriety checkpoint.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2012
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    It's been a long time since this issue has appeared in Michigan. It would seem that to even pull you over, they would have to have probable cause to believe that you were violating a law. If they start this, I would contact your local chapter of ACLU for assistance in stopping the practice.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Well, if you know where they are, I would recommend avoiding them if at all possible. Your rights if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint are the same as if you are pulled over in any other situation. You have the right to remain silent, you do not have to do field sobriety tests or take a preliminary alcohol screening test (unless you are on probation), but if you get arrested, there are potential enhancements if you do not do a breath test at the station or blood test.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    DWI check points allow law enforcement to stop vehicles only if there is indicant of intoxication or other violations of the law. Of course, the best option if you know a check point exists is not to drink and drive.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    In Michigan there are no checkpoints, as this is not allowed by existing law. You should consult with an attorney in your state to discuss your rights in connection with a checkpoint.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    DUI checkpoints have been found to be constitutional. You have rights if you are charged and to be left go if the officer cannot establish probable cause during the stop.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    You are obligated to show your driver's license, and probably proof of insurance. You are not required to answer any questions. Unless the officer can articulate facts that indicate you are doing something illegal, he has no right to search, nor arrest you. Of course, that does little good if your are illegally arrested because you have to then deal with the charges. Be polite. Speak as little as possible, and cooperate to the extent required by showing your license and proof of insurance. If permission is requested to search your vehicle, explain you do not wish to waive any constitutional rights. They have a right to search your vehicle incident to arrest for officer safety, but if you are doing nothing illegal, there is no right to arrest in the first place. If you are really thinking it's going to happen, take a video recorder or at least audio, to support your position later if something does go wrong. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    If you choose not to answer the questions then you need to prepare yourself that you may be arrested. But sometimes that is preferable to giving them incriminating information like admissions, field sobriety tests, and breathalyzer results. If you don't talk, then their arrest will only be based on smelling alcohol or your looking/acting drunk. That may not stop them from arresting you but it would make the DA think twice about issuing the case if the BA level is low.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    The Law Offices of Greg Gray
    The Law Offices of Greg Gray | Greg Gray
    In Texas you do have to give the police identifying information (name, date of birth, driver's license). Failure to do so may result in another charge. Other than that, you have the 5th Amendment right to remain silent. You do not have to perform the standardized field sobriety tests, but you will likely be arrested if they detect alcohol on your breath.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    They can do it. That is why they set them up. However, if they can't establish a reason to continue to talk to you then they need to let you go.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Hand over your registration, license and proof of insurance. Don't drink and drive and you should be OK. Also do not let them search the car. If they ask for permission to search the vehicle they do not have the right to do so. That is why they ask permission.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Checkpoints are mostly upheld in court suppression hearings. Technically they have to address a valid safely issue, and be limited in purpose, geographical area, and "scope," which means issues such as searching your car, bags in your car, the trunk, and your person. You always have a right to remain silent, and against self-incrimination. If the police smell or reasonably suspect alcohol consumption, they can investigate further by asking you to submit to roadside and alcohol/drug testing. I hope this answers your question. If not, let me know.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    The Law Office of Randall S. Woodard
    The Law Office of Randall S. Woodard | Randall Scott Woodard
    Road blocks are typically executed by the State Police in such a manner that they are lawful stops. That being said, there has to be reason for the police to believe there is something more serious than a typical traffic offense to detain or question you beyond brief roadside questioning to determine your identity, license status, vehicle registration and insurance coverage. The U.S. Supreme Court decided recently that a police officer can order a person out of a vehicle during a traffic stop so if told to exit your vehicle you have to comply. Always make the distinction clear between what is being asked of you and what you are being told to do. I hope this is helpful. Good luck, I was a prosecutor for 19 years so I appreciate the difference a good lawyer can make. Please do not hesitate to call me if I can be of any assistance.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You are required to provide ID upon demand. You have 5th Amendment rights to SHUT UP and NOT talk to anyone except an attorney. However, that doesn't mean you couldn't be arrested and charged if they thought you were under the influence. Refusal would increase the likelihood of arrest. You have the right to refuse blood alcohol testing. You'll automatically lose your license for a year if you do. Bottom line: if you drive, don't drink, and don't worry about check points. If you do anyway, and get arrested, feel free to contact me after you get out of jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    If you are stopped at a checkpoint, you have the right to remain silent and to not answer questions. However, if you exercise that right you can bet that you will be investigated further. You have the right to refuse any breath tests and any field sobriety tests but again, if you do not do them (and I am not suggesting at all that you do participate), then you will likely be arrested if you have any alcohol on your breath.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    First of all, nobody ever has to talk to the police. No one can make you. Police can perform DUI checkpoints as long as the requirements are met. They can only ask to see your driver's license and registration if they believe you are intoxicate or there is evidence of some other crime. You can politely decline field sobriety tests as they are voluntary. They may ask you to get out of your vehicle and if they do,make sure to lock your car. Never, ever argue with an officer or act belligerent. Even if you believe what they are doing or asking you to do is wrong, the proper time to challenge that is in court and not by the side of the road. Keep in mind that you do not have to go through the checkpoint as you can always take an alternate route.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    The police must advise the public when and where a dui checkpoint will be held. At no time do you have to answer police questions, whether at a checkpoint or not. However, the police can use your physical appearance and possible odor of alcohol to arrest you if you refuse to perform the field sobriety tests.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You always have the right to refuse to answer questions. For example, if the officer asks you if you have been drinking you need not answer him at all. An officer may request your license, insurance etc, but you need not answer any questions. You do not need to do the "eye" test NOR ANY physical tests such as the walk and turn, one leg stand. An officer, under the proper circumstances, can demand that you take a breath or blood test. There are possible ramifications regarding your choice to either take a test or not. It is not possible or recommended to give advice ahead of schedule to make that determination since many of the variables will be unknown until the exact time of the stop and request to take the chemical test. You should hire an attorney either beforehand or if you are arrested.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    In Colorado, if you choose to drive through the checkpoint, the officers are permitted to ask you questions to verify that you're legally driving (proof of insurance, license, etc.). If the officers have reason to suspect that someone is driving under the influence, they administer applicable sobriety tests.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Don't drink and drive and you won't have any problems. But if you are arrested, we can represent you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm | Grant Van Der Jagt
    Dui cases need a dui-dwai lawyer. Try my website. You'll learn a lot about how to answer questions from cops.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    I have written several articles about checkpoints and interacting with the police. Please go to my website.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You should find out exactly where the checkpoint begins and remember never to drive through it!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
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