DUI checkpoints are very much a part of real life in Kansas and Missouri. Drivers can be stopped and interviewed, all to determine if they may be intoxicated. Because these checkpoints can lead to much more serious consequences, all drivers must be aware of their rights and how to respond when stopped.
Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?
You are likely aware that in order to stop someone for suspected drunk driving, a police officer is required to have a reason to do so, such as speeding or a broken tail light. This is known as reasonable suspicion. So how do DUI checkpoints align with probable cause?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the dangers of drunk driving offset the "degree of intrusion" of sobriety checkpoints, excluding them from the search and seizure stipulations in the Constitution. This means that DUI checkpoints are generally legal, both in Kansas and Missouri, despite the need for reasonable suspicion.
Police Officer Guidelines at DUI Checkpoints & Your Rights
While DUI checkpoints may be legal, the National Highway Safety Transportation Board (NHSTB) has created guidelines for officers that must be followed during the administration of field sobriety tests during a sobriety checkpoint. An officer must still establish probable cause to effectuate an arrest.
With these guidelines in mind, remember that you do have rights anytime you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. Officers are not allowed to search you or your car unless they have probable cause that you are intoxicated or you agree to the search. Put simply – don't agree to any searches.
Always exercise your right to remain silent at a DUI checkpoint. Anything you say can be used against you and even a seemingly innocuous statement can turn into incriminating evidence later down the line. Be polite and respectful, but know that you are not required to respond to the officer's questions or perform field sobriety tests prior to the breathing.
Even when you know your rights, DUI checkpoints can still be intimidating. People often get arrested at checkpoints, sometimes based on erroneous evidence. If you were recently arrested at a DUI checkpoint and are unsure where to turn, let Kansas City DUI attorney Steve Schanker assist you. His 20 plus years of experience and successful case results indicate that he has the skill your case requires.
Your free consultation is just a phone call away! Get in touch with the firm today to find out what Attorney Schanker can do for you. Contact my firm for the help that you need.