It is well-known that officers must respect all motorists’ rights. Unless they have probable cause, such as speeding, ignoring traffic lights, or swerving, they have no reason to stop you. Many people think that DUI checkpoints are contrary to this standard rule.
For the last seven years, Arizona State has experienced a rise in impaired driving accidents. Moreover, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for those charged has been increasing (up to 0.15%). As a result, the Arizona government has embraced DUI checkpoints to combat impaired driving alongside other law enforcement agencies.
What are DUI checkpoints?
DUI checkpoints, also referred to as sobriety checkpoints, aare a law enforcement method used to test drivers’ intoxication. Their primary purpose is to seek out motorists driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs or engaging in criminal activities.
Finding out when and where DUI Checkpoints will be
DUI checkpoints in Arizona are usually set up at intersections, and during those times when blurred driving is more common, like at night, holidays and weekends.
Police officers must publish in the local newspaper when and where they will establish the checkpoints. You can also watch the local morning news to keep up with the DUI checkpoints. Also, many websites post about DUI checkpoints in Arizona. You only need to check the areas along the path to your destination for updates.
How to Act if stopped
When stopped at a roadblock, the officer will ask you to show your registration and driver’s license. This is a legal request at any checkpoint. You might also be required to show your residential information and routine ID.
However, you should be aware that those are not the only items the officer is interested in. They are also monitoring your behavior, attitude, reaction, and ability to coordinate skills in the process of providing the documents. While part of their investigation at any stop is to observe any particular impairment cues, some of the signals may be mistaken for medical conditions, anxiety, fatigue, and other circumstances.
You have to comply if asked to step out of the car or pulled to the traffic side for further questioning; failure to which you will be charged with other criminal offenses like disorderly conduct.
The officer may instruct you to participate in a DUI average Field Sobriety Tests (FST). In the laws of Arizona, these are not mandatory. Refuse the FSTs politely. Most are often biased, and inaccurate and even unimpaired motorists may not pass.
Besides, the officer may also ask you to take a breath test. Though there are civil consequences, you can refuse to accept it too. You might lose your driving privileges for one year, even if you were sober. Your refusal could also be used against you during the trial.
DUI Checkpoints Controversy
Arizona has adopted the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) laws. One of these laws requires that the official checkpoint be advanced by county or city officials. But, the officers are the ones who determine whether a driver is a candidate or not. Sometimes, these decisions are biased.
While the safest way to avoid raising suspicion is to drive under no influence, there’s no guarantee that you will escape false accusation or arrest. The officers will try as much as they can to engage you or your passengers in a conversation, especially if they suspect under 21 drinking violations.
First, the officer has no right whatsoever to question anyone but has a right to interaction. However, they will take advantage of the interaction right to prompt you to talk and spill words that could incriminate you.
To avoid fumbling due to frustrations, always know where your registration and driver’s license are.
Also, do not offer any information about your health conditions or any prescriptions you may be consuming. Sounds confusing, right? Always remember that, however innocent the questions and the answers are, they may result in self-incrimination.
Being confident and aware of your rights during the process will reduce your false arrest chances.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix DUI Attorney
Any non-observance of blurred driving laws in Arizona is serious. Convictions could lead to criminal penalties, including fines, loss of driving freedom, jail term, fees, or fixture of Ignition Interlock Devices upon restoration of your driver’s license, among others.
Going to court unrepresented will subject you to a swift and cruel criminal conviction. Make sure you reach out to a highly experienced and qualified lawyer to represent you. The lawyer will not only defend your rights but also ensure you’re treated justly. Besides, he/she may apply specific defenses to your case that could lead to a positive outcome, including reduced charges and sentencing, no jail terms, or partial or total dismissal of charges.
The appropriate legal advocacy will increase your chances of a positive outcome. Always seek help to discuss your defense’ options in case of an arrest. Contact us today for a free consultation.