Understanding How Police DUI Checkpoints Work & Knowing The Law
Understand your rights and protect yourself from DUI police roadblocks. Here is some advice from an experienced DUI & traffic defense attorney, Frank P. Bianco, P.A. in New Port Richey who has been protecting the rights of DUI cases for over 20+ years in Pasco County.
What you don’t know about a DUI roadblock can get you arrested.
You are likely already aware that the police set up checkpoints from time to time to catch DUI’s (drivers under the influence of alcohol). However, what you may not be aware of is the regulations the police must follow to perform checkpoints.
Understand these procedures and protect your rights:
- The police must announce the vicinity and time of checkpoints in advance. You can find these notices in your local paper. In addition the police must set up a ‘Last Chance Warning’ notice giving you the opportunity to make a U-turn and avoid the checkpoint. If you have had even a single drink you would be best suited to heed this warning and avoid the checkpoint, however please note that the police will be watching for this activity.
- Before the checkpoint is established, police are not only supposed to announce them by law, but also are required determine the number of cars they are going to stop (e.g. 1 out of 10) that night. If the on-duty officer decides to deviate from their set plan and isn’t being consistent with the number of cars they’re stopping, your case may be thrown out.
DUI Arrests at Checkpoints
- You are legally permitted to decline a field sobriety test, and due to the unreliable nature of these exercises, we recommend declining whether you have been drinking or not. You may still be arrested based on ‘officer observations’ and asked to take a breath test which you are legally required to take. However, we recommend immediately requesting a blood test as well to validate the results. Even if you score a zero and no alcohol is detected, you won’t be un-arrested and charges will still be filed.
Checkpoint Peak Times
- Be aware that holidays and other big events are when checkpoints are most likely to occur. For example: St. Patrick’s Day, Mothers/Fathers Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Easter, or Superbowl Sunday.
- This is not a checkpoint, but there are times when extra police saturate an area with the intent of pulling over people that have been drinking. Some police may be sitting in bar/restaurant parking lots waiting for people to leave and then find a reason to pull them over, such as a tail light, going over the speed limit, or rolling through a stop sign.
Anytime you are planning on driving, your safest course of action is to avoid any drinking at all. If you do drink, have a designated driver available.
Even if you don’t feel intoxicated, your blood alcohol level may still be above the legal limit.
The Penalty of Refusing a Breath Test
If your DUI test results show that you’re at a .08 or above, your license can be suspended for 6 months, but you may be eligible for a hardship license after 30 days. However, refusing a breath test may result in a suspended license for up to a year and you will not be eligible to apply for a hardship license for 90 days.
In addition, that refusal can be used as evidence against you and if you have past refusals from other arrests, your refusal may be added as an additional charge.