Navigating a Sobriety Checkpoint

Navigating a Sobriety Checkpoint

In Maryland, sobriety checkpoints are usually set up around holidays or special events. They are especially common in the summer. But do you know what to do and what not to do if you encounter a sobriety checkpoint?

Rules Regarding Sobriety Checkpoints

A police department has to follow specific rules before and during a sobriety checkpoint. If these rules aren’t followed, any evidence discovered during the checkpoint may not be admissible in a criminal proceeding.

  • The checkpoint must be conducted by uniformed police officers in police vehicles
  • Drivers must be selected in a random, predetermined pattern
  • There must be notice that a checkpoint is happening when the driver approaches (usually there is a sign displayed).

If you don’t want to go through the checkpoint, turn around.

It is a common misconception that you are legally required to go through a sobriety checkpoint once you see one. However, there is nothing to prevent you from safely turning around if you choose not to proceed.

Drive safely when approaching and going through the checkpoint.

Police officers will be scanning for traffic violations and behavior that could be associated with driving under the influence. Make sure you remain in your vehicle and keep up with traffic flow. Comply with the directions of the police officers and watch where they are directing other vehicles to go. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, this is not a good time to pull out your phone.

Be careful when answering questions.

If you are stopped at the sobriety checkpoint, the only police officer questions you are required to answer relate to your identity. You do have to provide identifying information, and the officer may ask you for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. The officer may ask you where you’re going, what you’ve been doing, and whether you’ve been drinking. You are not required to answer these questions, and it’s probably best to politely decline to answer. Any statements you make could be used against you later if you are arrested. You can also decline to take any field sobriety tests or roadside preliminary breath tests if asked to do so. Your rights remain the same whether you are pulled over at a checkpoint or stopped on the road.

Contact an Experienced Maryland DUI/DWI Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for DUI or DWI, you want an attorney that can get you the best possible outcome in your case. The attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC have over 30 years of experience defending Maryland DUI and DWI cases. Contact us online or call us at 866-444-6363 for a free consultation.

About Dianne Freed