Holiday weekends are the prime time for sobriety checkpoints. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years coming up, it’s quite possible that you’ll find yourself at a DUI stop. The police won’t read you your rights as they approach your car; it’s important that you know in advance what you do and do not have the right to do at a sobriety checkpoint.
The Right to Remain Silent
Some people believe that you only get this right once you are read the Miranda Warning or only after you are arrested. This is not the case. You have the right to remain silent at any time when interacting with the police.
During a sobriety checkpoint, the officer may ask you questions about where you’ve been, where you’re headed, if you’ve been drinking, and/or how much you have had to drink. You do not have to answer these questions. All that is required is that you provide your license, registration, and proof of insurance to the officer. If they continue with further questioning, you may calmly state that you’d like to use your right to remain silent. It can be intimidating to tell an officer that, but you are within your rights to do so.
The Right to Refuse a Search
There are only a few select times that an officer can conduct a warrantless search:
- If public safety is at immediate risk
- During a protective sweep
- If evidence is in plain view
- If the suspect consents
Once you consent to a search, it is officially legal, and anything found can be used against you. The officer may ask, “You don’t mind if we take a look in your trunk, do you?” Calmly state that you do not consent to a search.
The Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Testing
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you will be penalized by having your license suspended. If you refuse to participate in field sobriety tests, however, there is no penalty. These tests are always optional.
You should always refuse to take field sobriety tests because:
- A significant percentage of sober drivers cannot pass
- You can fail due to numerous non-alcohol-related factors
- You face no additional punishment for refusing
Chicago DUI Defense
If you have been charged with DUI after going through a sobriety checkpoint, contact The Toney Law Firm, LLC. We will investigate all aspects of the DUI stop to ensure law enforcement did not violate your rights. We have successfully defended numerous clients facing drunk driving charges, and we are here for you.