The flashing red and blue lights make most people nervous. Even if you have not been drinking, a DUI checkpoint can make you feel anxious. Unfortunately, when you show signs of nervousness or suspicion, a police officer might feel inclined to question your sobriety. Officers are trained to check for the smell of alcohol, slowed responses, and suspicious behavior at DUI checkpoints. Even if you only had a glass of wine at dinner, they still may need to check your responses.
While a police officer has the right to question and test if you are driving while under the influence of alcohol, you still have protected rights that they must respect. If they infringe upon your rights and proceed with an arrest without credible evidence, you should immediately contact an experienced DUI attorney.
Navigate a Pennsylvania DUI Checkpoint with These 3 Tips
DUI checkpoints are established to make sure those who are on the road are driving safely and responsibly. Officers are there to make sure drivers are not driving while under the influence, but if you are nervous or show signs of intoxication, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer and other tests. If you happen to encounter a DUI checkpoint in Pennsylvania, consider the following tips.
Keep the Interaction Short
When you are in a situation where a police officer is looking for signs of intoxication, the longer you stay, the more nervous you may become. There is also a higher chance of the officer noticing any signs of suspicious behavior. It is essential to stay polite and cooperative when the officer is speaking to you.
Make sure you have all your documents organized, like your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and car insurance, so you can easily provide them to the officer at the checkpoint. The less time you spend with the officer, the more likely you will quickly move through the checkpoint without too much trouble.
Avoid Probable Cause
Probable cause means you have given an officer reason to believe that you may have committed an unlawful act. If an officer is provided with probable cause that you drove while under the influence, they can question and administer a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. Probable cause can be any of the following:
- Signs of alcohol consumption
- Symptoms of drug abuse
- Open pieces of incriminating evidence
Whether you are at a traffic stop or a DUI checkpoint, if a police officer is given reason to suspect that you are intoxicated while driving, they have the authority to conduct tests, ask questions, and search your car. However, if they do not have probable cause and search your car without reason, you have the right to pursue legal reparations.
Know Your Rights
Staying polite and civil with an officer is important, but you can assert your rights if they are violated and you are treated wrongfully by an officer. Kindly remind them that they are infringing on your protected rights. You have the right to the following:
- Deny a car search: Most people are unaware that a police officer can search your car only if they can explain the probable cause. If they have no evidence of probable cause, you have the right to decline a car search.
- Remain silent: The right to remain silent is essential, and you have no obligation to answer incriminating questions like whether you have been drinking or where you have been.
- Dispute illegal detention: Arresting an individual without reason is illegal. They will need to have evidence of probable cause to keep you there longer than it takes to check your license, registration, and insurance.
It is important to understand your rights as a resident of Pennsylvania. DUI checkpoints are for the safety of those driving on the road, staying calm and courteous will help you easily pass through the checkpoint.
When you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, using these tips is a great way to reduce the risk of conflict. Interactions with the police can make anyone nervous, but that does not give them a reason to incriminate you with no plausible cause or evidence. Speaking with a defense attorney who is passionate about defending your rights is vital to your case.
Seek DUI Legal Assistance from Experienced Pennsylvania Lawyers
The constitution protects your rights, and if they are infringed upon without evidence of misconduct, you can proceed with legal action. With over 65 years of experience defending our clients’ rights, our team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford are dedicated to offering clients accessible communication and dependable legal services. We understand that a DUI accusation is serious and harmful to your reputation, job, and future goals. Our team will work hard to provide you with the best possible outcome of your case.
Call 215-822-7575 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.