It is that time of year again where motorists will be ringing in the new year. This usually consists of good food, music, and the occasional alcoholic beverage. It is this time of year where law enforcement takes a more aggressive stance on DUI enforcement. Checkpoints are one manner by which law enforcement handles the enforcement of DUIs. Below you will find what you can expect during a DUI checkpoint.
When an officer first makes contact with a motorist who is stopped at a DUI checkpoint, the officer will be looking for physical manifestations of intoxication. These manifestations include slurred speech, glassy/bloodshot eyes, an odor of alcoholic beverage, inability to follow instructions or any other signs the officer deems a symptom of intoxication. One of the major other signs the officer will be looking for is whether the motorist is being belligerent or combative.
One of the simplest ways to avoid an issue at a DUI checkpoint is to be polite. A motorist who is polite and cooperative will be passed through much sooner than one who is uncooperative and belligerent. Remember though being cooperative is not the same thing as waiving your constitutionally protected rights. You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests as well as any breath alcohol tests.
If an officer suspects you are guilty of DUI, the next step after observation will involve the above mentioned tests. Officers will request that you submit to field sobriety tests. These tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk and Turn Test and the One-leg Stand Test. You have the right to refuse any of these tests. If you refuse these tests or even if you comply with these tests, the officer is the sole decider about who is or is not intoxicated.
The final stage of a DUI checkpoint will consist of a breath alcohol test. This test will calculate a motorists breath alcohol content. In Alabama, this test will likely be the Draegar Alcotest 7110. Prior to providing a breath test, a motorist will be advised their license will be suspended if they fail to provide a breath sample. Although the officer will make it sound as if a motorist has to provide a breath sample, motorists do not. Motorists can always refuse the tests
If for some reason you or someone you know is stopped and arrested for DUI, please call our attorneys at Parkman White, LLP and allow us to assist you in the defense of your DUI charge.