DUI checkpoints are places on the road where police stop traffic to check driver sobriety. Sometimes known as mobile checkpoints or roadblocks, these stops are general checks and are not inspired by a specific call or report. The location of a DUI checkpoint is chosen at random. It generally involves you stopping your vehicle and being briefly interviewed by a police officer. If the officer becomes suspicious that you’re driving while intoxicated, you’ll be asked to pull over and undergo a field sobriety test.
A Cincinnati DUI lawyer should be your first call if you’re facing a charge of driving while intoxicated. In the Cincinnati area, Luftman, Heck & Associates can provide you with any assistance you may need during a DUI investigation.
Being convicted of driving a vehicle under the influence can have long-lasting effects on your life. You risk having your license restricted or suspended. Depending on your level of intoxication and previous DUI convictions, you could also face prison time. With such severe consequences on the line, you want to make sure your case is in the best hands possible. Call us today at (513) 338-1890, or fill out the online form for a free consultation.
Legality of DUI Checkpoints in Ohio
According to the law, police need to have probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. In 1990, the United States Supreme Court determined that the potential benefit of preventing drunk driving accidents outweighs the invasiveness of a DUI checkpoint. Following this ruling, the National Highway Safety Transportation Board published a set of guidelines the police must follow to legally operate a DUI checkpoint.
The Setup and Operation of a Checkpoint Must Follow the NHSTB Guidelines
For a DUI checkpoint to be valid, it must operate under the standard set forth by the NHSTB. These standards include:
- Advanced public notice. The public must know the time and location of the checkpoint ahead of time.
- Visible warnings. Lights or signs must be employed to make drivers clearly aware of the upcoming stop.
- Vehicles must be stopped based on a predetermined formula or warning signs. This is to prevent profiling.
- Detain drivers for the minimum possible amount of time. How long the check takes should be limited based on concerns of efficiency and invasiveness.
What to Expect As You Approach a DUI Checkpoint
As per the regulations set after the Supreme Court’s decision, you’ll typically see flashing lights or warning signs as you drive up to a DUI stop. At least one police officer will be present to observe drivers as they pass. The checkpoint itself is usually a makeshift “lane,” made of cones or lights. This lane leads off the side of the road, either to the shoulder or off-road parking. As you pass the checkpoint, the officer will check if you’re exhibiting any signs of intoxication. Indicators they’re searching for include, but aren’t limited to:
- Red or glassy eyes
- Swerving or erratic driving
- Slouching or poor postures
- Appearing nervous or uncomfortable
If you don’t appear to be intoxicated, you’ll be allowed to simply drive by the checkpoint and continue on your way. If the officer believes that you’re operating under the influence, you’ll be asked to pull off the road. There, you’ll be asked a few questions and perhaps be asked to undergo a field sobriety test.
Possible Defenses to Being Charged at a DUI Checkpoint
If you’re charged with a DUI after being stopped at a checkpoint, your most probable defense is that the checkpoint was not regulation. You will want to describe the details of the checkpoint to your DUI attorney. They will then make sure your DUI stop complied with the guidelines the NHSTB established. If the police did not follow protocol, any evidence obtained as a result of your stop is not admissible. Without such evidence, it will be much harder to convict you of a DUI.
Talk to A Lawyer About DUI Checkpoints Today
An experienced DUI attorney can help defend you after being charged with a DUI. For help with a DUI case in the Cincinnati area, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates today.