Law enforcement officials may set up a DUI checkpoint to check for anyone driving under the influence (DUI). They may check everyone who comes through or select folks randomly.
Like security checkpoints in airports or major events like concerts and sports competitions, the amount of attention law enforcement gives to individuals going through checkpoints will depend on a number of factors. If you are stopped, they could ask a few questions and send you on your way. If your answers make them suspect intoxication, they may probe further or request you to step out of the vehicle and submit to a variety of field sobriety tests.
While operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol should be avoided, you should also follow several steps when encountering a DUI checkpoint.
Obey Law Enforcement
Even if you’re stone-cold sober, do not attempt to evade the request or flee the scene if the law enforcement officials at the DUI checkpoint request you to stop and answer their questions. Do not be belligerent or challenging at the outset. Be calm and polite. Yes, its annoying but the side of the road is not the place to suddenly become a constitutional scholar.
If you have not consumed alcohol or you happen to be irritated about having to stop, this step may seem like a big request. But it’s better to assure law enforcement of your sobriety and avoid any unintended consequences than to take out your irritations on the officers in question.
Keep Documentation Handy
Whenever you’re operating a motor vehicle, it’s always important to have your license, vehicle registration, and insurance information available at all times. In addition to being a legal requirement to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Nevada, having the documentation within easy reach inside your vehicle at all times can ensure that you get back on the road as quickly as possible.
Additionally, being able to quickly produce the information may impress law enforcement officials that you’re a responsible driver who obeys traffic laws.
Submit To Tests
Depending on the law enforcement officials in question, you may be asked to submit to any number of field tests to check your sobriety. These field sobriety tests may include being asked to recite the alphabet or perform a short display to check for signs of physical intoxication such as the “touch your nose and walk a straight line” exams. You may be asked to take a breathalyzer test. Attorneys who represent clients accused of DUI would recommend avoiding such tests on the outside chance you may inadvertently provide law enforcement evidence that your DUI lawyer would have to refute.
Under Nevada law you are not required to submit to such tests and it may in fact be wise not to do so. The problem is field sobriety tests are not necessarily reliable. They are designed to allow officers to have more time to evaluate you for intoxication. If they are administered wrong or the officer makes a wrong interpretation, you can be wrongly accused. Furthermore other factors could be at play that affect the reliability of such tests. For example certain medical conditions may make the officer think you are impaired when you are not. Poor weather conditions may affect how you respond or certain roadway conditions can also affect results. Imagine if you are the type of person who gets intense social anxiety being suspected of a DUI. You may act impaired – stuttering or shivering for example – when you are just a bit freaked out. Breathalyzers may also be inaccurate. For example certain medications and health care items can affect results. For example mouth wash or breath sprays have high alcohol content.
Field sobriety tests are a tool used by law enforcement but are not be used as an excuse for abuse or coercion. Refusal may lead to being detained or arrest unfortunately but taking one is not necessarily going to avoid that. If they are asking, there is a very good chance they already suspect you are a possible DUI candidate. Do not give them any possible evidence to that effect.
A DUI checkpoint is just law enforcement doing their job to keep the roads safe which we all want. A checkpoint stop may lead to an unexpected delay, which can feel like being stuck in traffic during rush hour. But when it is your turn, this is not the time to be confrontational. You just want to be unremarkable. Just like when going through the TSA security line at the airport, you do not want to draw unwanted attention to yourself which may make agents pull you out line for more extensive questioning or searches.
Should you find yourself in line at a DUI checkpoint, take the time to ensure your documentation will be ready for inspection and prepare yourself to be calm and ready to answer some questions briefly. There is no need to be chatty. DUI checkpoints should never be a cause for panic aw enforcement officials use them to keep the roads safe, which means they’re just doing their jobs.
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Let Us Help
To learn more about DUI checkpoints in the state of Nevada, contact Shahani Law Ltd. today.