Police use DUI checkpoints to “catch” people drinking and driving, but the process can be confusing for those who have never before encountered a checkpoint. With this being the case, we decided to create a blog post to identify five things you need to know about DUI checkpoints.
You Can Turn Around Before You Reach a Checkpoint
If you see a DUI checkpoint up ahead, you can take a different route if you can legally do so. An officer cannot stop or arrest you if you make a legal turn away from a checkpoint, however, if you make an illegal traffic maneuver to avoid the checkpoint, you can be stopped.
However, if you reach a checkpoint, you have to go through it.
DUI Checkpoints Are Legal
Many people think DUI checkpoints are illegal, but they are not illegal in Utah. The federal government voted that sobriety checkpoints were legal, and so did Utah’s government. Therefore, at the state and federal levels, DUI checkpoints are legal, and any defense saying otherwise is illegitimate.
Since DUI checkpoints are legal, that means your participation is mandatory.
DUI Checkpoint Participation Is Mandatory
As DUI checkpoints are legal, any driver passing through one is subject to be stopped. If officers ask someone to stop, and the person refuses and drive through the checkpoint, they would most likely be arrested and face criminal charges.
Therefore, your participation in the checkpoint is mandatory, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree to every step of the process.
You Don’t Have to Perform Breathalyzer or Field Sobriety Tests
Even though you have to stop at a sobriety checkpoint when asked, you don’t have to perform breathalyzer or field sobriety tests. However, you should know that if you refuse these tests, your license may be automatically suspended.
Despite the automatic suspension, it could be argued that getting a license reinstated is much easier than fighting DUI charges. Therefore, it’s essential to determine if it’s best to submit to or refuse to take these tests on your own.
However, officers can arrest you for a DUI even if you refuse to take a breathalyzer.
Officers Can Arrest You Despite Your BAC
Many people believe they are impervious to DUI arrests if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is equal to or higher than 0.08%: but that’s not true. If a cop believes you are intoxicated, he or she can arrest you regardless of your BAC thanks to Utah’s DUI laws.
Utah law says that driving under the influence is defined as being, “under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle.” Therefore, an officer can arrest anyone he or she believes is under the influence, regardless of the person’s BAC.
As a result, you shouldn’t think you are safe from an arrest just because you had a drink or two; a cop can arrest your regardless of your BAC. Therefore, your BAC cannot save you from an arrest; it can only incriminate you. However, experienced representation can help you fight your case.
Need Experienced Representation for Your Case?
If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, you have the right to hire experienced criminal defense for your case. Lokken & Putnam is a Salt Lake City criminal defense firm that gets results for its clients.
Call (801) 829-9783 now for a free consultation for your DUI case.