Three Mistakes to Avoid at Sobriety Checkpoints

21 September 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Setting up a roadblock to check the sobriety of every driver who passes through the checkpoint is a long tradition in most states (although twelve others have decided against them). While the most important thing you can do to avoid a problem at DUI checkpoints is to avoid drinking before you drive, it's also true that you can get into trouble at a checkpoint even when you're not over the legal limit if you're not careful. It can be frustrating to have to stop at a checkpoint when you know you're not drunk, especially if you feel that it's a violation of your civil rights, but it's important to stay safe during the process as well. Remember that the police officers are armed and have the power to arrest you, and be sure to avoid these three mistakes whenever you come across a checkpoint.

1. Refusing to cooperate

It's perfectly natural to be reluctant to roll down your window at a checkpoint, especially since you're often not legally required to. However, the officer will expect you to roll the window down when requested to, and if you refuse to he or she may have cause to suspect that you're trying to hide something. The more cause you give officers to suspect you of doing something wrong, the more likely they are to be legally allowed to search your car, which is even more of an infringement on your time and privacy.

2. Speaking or acting disrespectfully

Nobody likes antagonistic behavior, and antagonizing an officer of the law is an especially bad idea. No matter how much you disagree with what they're doing, try to remember that the police are simply doing their job. If it helps you, try to find something about the situation that you do respect (such as the fact that they're trying to protect you from drunk drivers) and focus on that to help improve your mood. 

3. Displaying abnormal behavior

When you're stopped at a checkpoint, it may be that you've already shown signs of erratic driving, and now that you're face to face with the officer, behaving oddly isn't going to allay their suspicions. Some signs the officers are looking for when they're talking to you (such as flushing, red eyes, and disorientation) are disturbingly similar to symptoms of something entirely legal, such as an emotional breakdown. If possible, avoid all the signs of alcohol consumption that the officer will be looking for. Or, if you've been crying because your dog got run over by a truck, be sure to let the officer know that that's why you're flushed.

These are just three potential mistakes that people can make when stopped at a DUI checkpoint. This is not legal advice, so be sure to consult with your attorney if you have questions about what you're required to do at a checkpoint.