Drunk driving is a serious offense that is not treated lightly and, to discourage motorists from engaging in this dangerous behavior, DUI checkpoints are often set up in an attempt to keep impaired drivers off the road. Regardless if you have been drinking or not, being stopped at one of these checkpoints can be an intimidating experience and, if you are unaware of your rights, you might end up inadvertently incriminating yourself. Continue reading to learn more about your rights at a DUI checkpoint, so you know what to do in the future if you are ever stopped at one.
Answering the Officer’s Questions
When you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, one of the first things a law enforcement officer will do is ask you a series of questions. The purpose of this act is to give the officer an opportunity to observe your behavior and look for any signs that you might be inebriated or under the influence of drugs, such as slurred speech, or the scent of alcohol on your breath. Drivers tend to answer these questions because they believe they are legally obligated to. However, there is no law that states you have to answer an officer’s questions when stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
Field Sobriety Tests
If you do choose to speak with the officers and they believe you might be under the influence of alcohol, they will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests. You have the right to refuse to perform these tests. Chances are that, if you are being asked to perform these tests, the officers have already decided to arrest you and are simply trying to gather more evidence against you. Politely declining this request work in your favor, especially since these tests are notoriously inaccurate and even difficult to perform, even while sober.
If given probable cause, law enforcement officers could ask you to submit to a breath or blood test. If you are placed under arrest, refusing a breath or blood test can result in serious penalties. In Florida, if you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test, your license could potentially be suspended for up to one year. However, if you have a previous refusal on record, it would be considered a misdemeanor and, if convicted of a DUI, you will be facing the consequences for both the misdemeanor offense and your DUI conviction.
DUI Criminal Defense Attorney in Clearwater
If you are currently facing DUI charges, you need to obtain skilled legal representation as soon as possible to ensure your rights and freedom are protected. The consequences of a DUI conviction can impact your life long after you have paid the legal price for it, so do not leave your future up to chance. At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., our team of DUI criminal defense attorneys has helped numerous clients reduce or have their DUI charges completely dropped.
Get the legal assistance you deserve today and contact our law office at (727) 245-9009 to request your free initial case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable DUI criminal defense attorneys.