Every year, thousands of New Yorkers are injured in drunk driving accidents. As a result, police officers have taken multiple initiatives in an attempt to lower this scary statistic. One way is by performing sobriety checkpoints, also called DUI checkpoints. This is when an officer stops passing vehicles to ensure no one is driving while intoxicated. Many drivers wonder if they need to comply if they are stopped at a DUI checkpoint. To find out, read more or reach out to a Nassau County DUI Lawyer today!
IS IT LEGAL FOR A POLICE OFFICER TO PERFORM A DUI CHECKPOINT?
Yes, it is perfectly legal for police officers to perform random sobriety checkpoints in New York. Many people think that these checks go against the 4th Amendment, which protects Americans from being searched without reasonable cause. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that there are certain exceptions to the fourth amendment, and one of these exceptions is DUI checkpoints. This is because the need to reduce drunk driving accidents outweighs the inconvenience posed to drivers. So, there’s nothing illegal about a police officer setting up a sobriety checkpoint, but passing drivers do retain certain rights.
DO I NEED TO COMPLY WITH A SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT?
For the most part, you’ll likely need to comply with the police officer at the checkpoint. However, there are some actions you can take to avoid a DUI checkpoint. As long as you don’t commit a traffic violation in the process, you can make a U-turn to completely avoid speaking with the police officer. But even if you do this, there’s a possibility that the officer could see you avoiding them and pull you over anyway for suspicious behavior. Once you’re pulled over by a police officer, you’ll be legally required to comply with them.
If you’d like to prevent a DUI checkpoint officer from questioning you or looking inside your vehicle, you can keep your window rolled up when passing through the checkpoint. This is legal as long as you have a written statement explaining that you are utilizing your fifth amendment right to remain silent. You can tape the statement on the inside of your driver’s side window so the officer can read it when you stop at the checkpoint. You’re still legally required to show the officer your license and registration, so you can place these items in a bag and hang them on the outside of your window so the officer has access to them.
Have you been unlawfully searched and arrested at a DUI checkpoint in New York? You probably want to speak with a criminal defense attorney who has your best interests in mind. Thankfully, the Law Office of Jacob A. Rudman is here to fight for you! Contact us today for an initial consultation.