Indiana law enforcement agencies establish many DUI sobriety checkpoints across the state each year. These are intended to decrease the prevalence of drunk driving among Hoosiers.
Even if you’ve only had one drink and you think you’re sober, it is critical to understand what to expect at a DUI checkpoint. If you need to know how to pass a DUI checkpoint, read on.
What Is a DUI Checkpoint?
So, what are sobriety checkpoints? These are random locations where law enforcement stops any or all traffic on a given roadway to determine whether drivers are impaired.
How Do Sobriety Checkpoints Work?
The location and timing of sobriety checkpoints are determined by individual jurisdictions. Often, specific police departments will designate times and locations based on sobriety checkpoints’ effectiveness.
How do DUI checkpoints work? A law enforcement officer will partially block the road and can offer field sobriety tests if they have reasonable suspicion that a person is operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Selected motorists - meaning those suspected of drinking and driving - may be required to breathe into a breathalyzer, engage in field sobriety exercises, or take other tests. Some states have laws that make this practice illegal, but Indiana sobriety checkpoint laws allow officers to stop vehicles in this manner.
If you have been charged with a DUI after being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.
Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Indiana?
Many people wonder what, if anything, might make sobriety checkpoints unconstitutional. After all, the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Since the police are government officials, are sobriety checkpoints constitutional?
In most cases, yes. However, law enforcement agencies must follow specific protocols to operate within the bounds of the law. Failing to do so may make resulting DUI convictions difficult or impossible.
To maintain legal DUI checkpoints, police must:
- Establish the checkpoint at a random location;
- Take traffic safety measures, including implementing lights, signals, and identifying elements;
- Publicize the checkpoint;
- Ensure that the checkpoint serves public safety;
- Only ask relevant questions when stopping a driver;
- Not detain motorists for an unreasonable amount of time.
Are sobriety checkpoints legal if they fail to meet these criteria? In many instances, no.
For instance, citizens should be able to learn about the location of DUI checkpoints in Indiana by conducting an online search. Stops at these roadblocks should not last for an unreasonable amount of time; detaining drivers longer than necessary may be illegal. There should also be marked “detour” signs before you approach the roadblock.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence at a sobriety checkpoint, speak with an attorney to explore your legal options. It is important to note that you are never required to drive through a DUI checkpoint. But if you choose to drive through a sobriety checkpoint in Indiana, it is critical that you understand your basic rights.
Your Rights at Police Checkpoints in Indiana
If you are driving on Indiana’s roadways, it is critical to ask the question, “What are my rights at a DUI checkpoint”? After all, citizens should know their basic rights before approaching a law enforcement roadblock. This helps people avoid being victimized or facing wrongful arrests by police.
Answering the most relevant questions will help you understand what is required when there is a sobriety checkpoint ahead of you.
Do you have to stop for DUI checkpoints? If you do not engage in illegal driving maneuvers, you are permitted to avoid checkpoints. For example, many motorists turn around at a DUI checkpoint before approaching the officer. However, those who avoid checkpoints may draw the attention of the police.
Can you refuse a DUI checkpoint field sobriety test? Yes, you do not have to submit to this type of examination. While officers can request that you show ID, you are not legally required to answer questions.
You also have the right not to be detained for an unreasonable length of time. Finally, officers cannot compel you to allow a search of your vehicle, and you have the right to refuse such requests.
If you believe that you were treated unreasonably at an Indiana DUI checkpoint, speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
What to Do at a Sobriety Checkpoint and DUI Stops
Once you understand what happens at a sobriety checkpoint, it is vital to know what to do to get through a DUI checkpoint. Taking the wrong actions at a DUI checkpoint can result in a negative outcome when you are interacting with law enforcement officers.
When you are wondering what to do at a DUI checkpoint, consider the following important tips.
Proceed with Caution
When you are approaching a law enforcement roadblock, drive slowly and carefully. Make sure to follow the officers’ directions. Never speed through a DUI checkpoint in Indiana, as this may result in severe legal penalties.
Stick with the Basics
If you decide to answer the officer’s questions, make sure to speak respectfully. Also, you should never provide information that the officer has not asked about. Sticking with the basics is the best approach when speaking with the police.
Watch What You Say
Be very careful about what you say to police officers at DUI checkpoints. After all, anything that you say may be used against you. Do not provide information about the number of drinks you have had.
Don’t Resist Arrest
If the officers decide they have enough reason to arrest you, it is important not to resist. Resisting arrest can take a situation from bad to worse quickly. Remain calm, and when you can, make sure you reach out to a knowledgeable Indiana defense attorney.
Speak with a DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI at a sobriety checkpoint, it is important to secure legal representation. One of the skilled legal professionals at Stracci Law Group will review the facts of your case and help you fight any charges against you. Contact our firm to schedule a free legal case evaluation today.