In Virginia, law enforcement officials are allowed to set up DUI checkpoints. However, they must follow certain procedures when doing so, such as advertising that they are scheduling one and using a mathematical formula for deciding who to stop.
It can be frightening to have to go through a DUI checkpoint if you know you were drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel. However, how you handle the stop can play a big part in what charges you might face and the defenses you can raise if you are arrested for DUI. Here are five steps to take to protect your legal rights.
#1: Remain Calm
Although it may be hard to do if you are worried about being arrested, you need to stay calm while going through the checkpoint. Initially, the police officer may not suspect you of being intoxicated. However, they will be watching your actions closely for signs that you were drinking or engaging in other illegal activities.
#2: Don’t Avoid the Checkpoint
You should not try to avoid the checkpoint once you see that you will be stopped at it. The police will view your behaviors as suspicious if you turn around.
#3: Cooperate With the Police
You should remain polite and cooperate with the police to avoid being charged with a more serious offense and to avoid the use of excessive force if they perceive you as threatening or uncooperative. This is crucial given how law enforcement are responding to certain situations these days. You should provide them with your basic information, such as:
- Your name and address
- Your driver’s license
- Your vehicle registration
- Your proof of insurance
#4: Watch What You Say
Besides providing the basic information you are required to provide when stopped at a DUI checkpoint, be careful what you say to the police officer. Do not volunteer any information and limit your answers to any questions. Remember that they can and will use anything you say against you if they arrest you.
#5: Say No to a Field Sobriety Test
If the police ask you to submit to a field sobriety test, you should politely say no to this request. You are under no obligation to take these tests, and the results could give the police officer probable cause to arrest you for DUI.
Were you arrested for DUI or DWI at a DUI checkpoint? You need the help of an experienced DUI attorney to raise any defenses to the charges you face and to fight to get them dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. To learn how we can help, schedule a free initial consultation today. Just call our Manassas office or start a live chat to schedule your appointment.