Legality of DUI Checkpoints in Arizona
Arizona is one of 38 states that legally allow the use of DUI checkpoints by law enforcement. DUI checkpoints can occur at any time, but are usually set up late at night and during high-risk times like holiday weekends. Though these roadblocks are legal, there are certain things you can refuse to do or say when you pass through a DUI checkpoint.
DUI checkpoints must follow strict guidelines to actually be considered legal. For example, signs must be well displayed and lit, warning drivers of the upcoming stop. DUI checkpoints are often publicized online or in the news.
How Do Arizona DUI Checkpoints Work?
First, you should understand that you are allowed to avoid DUI checkpoints. If you see a sign warning of an upcoming DUI checkpoint, you can legally go an alternate way, as long as it is a legitimate road.
If you do proceed through the checkpoint, you must stop at an officer’s direction. Be polite and courteous. A police officer will usually stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint, although in some cases officers may only stop every other vehicle or every third vehicle. After asking for your license, proof of insurance, and registration, the officer may ask you a few questions. Under the 5th Amendment, you do not have to answer any questions if you do not wish to. An officer may ask if you have been drinking. You can legally reply “I do not wish to answer.” The officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test, or blow into a Breathalyzer to gauge your blood-alcohol level.
You have the legal right to refuse a Breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test. However, it is important to note that DUI arrests are generally left up to the officer. If they suspect you of driving under the influence, they can arrest you even if you refuse a sobriety test.
Police are also not allowed to search your vehicle without probable cause or your permission. However, visible items, like alcohol bottles, can result in probable cause. If an officer can look in the windows and spot open or empty alcohol containers, the officer’s search of your vehicle may be upheld.
What Do I Do If I am Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint?
If you are arrested or detained at a DUI checkpoint, contact your attorney immediately. An arrest does not always result in an actual DUI conviction. Alex Lane Law offers aggressive representation for those who have been charged with a DUI in Arizona. From negotiating plea deals to preparing for and going to trial, Alex Lane Law can help you with your DUI defense. A good defense starts immediately, so do not hesitate to contact your defense attorney. You need an experienced, respected, and aggressive attorney to defend you and your rights when facing a serious DUI charge. Call Alex Lane Law today for an initial consultation.