Your Rights at a Sobriety Checkpoint
Our Denver DUI Attorney Explains the Laws
Sobriety checkpoints are roadblocks set up by law enforcement for the purpose
of identifying those individuals who are driving under the influence of
alcohol or drugs. At the checkpoints, vehicles are instructed by the police
to pass through one at a time, and the officers will be focused on identifying
any person who is driving in a suspicious manner or who appears to be impaired.
The officers will also question drivers to observe how they behave or react.
There are rules the police must follow regarding which cars they stop
DUI penalties for anyone arrested at a sobriety checkpoint, and subsequently convicted
of DUI, could be facing jail, the driver's license suspension, fines,
as well as mandated treatment programs and community service requirements.
If you have been arrested for DUI at a sobriety checkpoint, it's important
you contact a
DUI defense attorney in Denver as soon as possible. Just because you were arrested
does not automatically mean you are guilty.
Guidelines for Operating a Sobriety Checkpoint
The following are the basic guidelines that regulate sobriety checkpoints
in order that law enforcement does not discriminate regarding which drivers
they stop and question and which ones they wave through the checkpoint:
- Strictly following policy regarding standard procedure for roadblocks;
- Every driver is must be treated equally;
- There are no arbitraries regarding which vehicles are stopped (type of
- There is no discrimination against any driver with regard to race, age, sex, etc.
Under the standard of treating every driver/vehicle the same, police decide
prior to starting the roadblock what sequence will be used for stopping
a vehicle, such as stopping every car, or every third car, or similar
procedure. There will be an authorizing order for the establishment of
the roadblock, and the procedure to be implemented will be noted on the order.
However, during the checkpoint procedure, the standard being used can be
changed. If the police were stopping every other car, they could change
it to every car, or every fourth car, etc. The change must be documented
with the reason why. Some examples of common reasons to change the sequence are:
- Bad weather
- Traffic jams
- Changes in the number of personnel
It also must show what time the change was made and what was the altered
sequence for stopping vehicles.
What can the police do at a roadblock?
Any driver selected by law enforcement for a sobriety check can expect
the officer to lean into the car through the driver's window in order
to attempt detect any odors from alcohol or drugs. The officer will also
ask the driver if he or she has consumed any alcohol or drugs. During
the questioning, the officer will be checking whether there the smell
alcohol or drugs on the driver's breath, if his speech is slurred,
open containers of alcoholic beverages, or if the driver's motor skills
seem too slow. The officer will also observe whether or not the driver's
eyes are bloodshot, glassy, or excessively watering.
Any suspicion of intoxication by the police officer will trigger
blood tests and
field sobriety tests. If he or she fails the tests, there will be an immediate arrest for DUI.
Get the Help You Need. Contact Attorney Chris Cessna!
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI after being stopped at
a sobriety checkpoint, it's imperative to consult with a highly trained
DUI lawyer practicing in Denver. Mr. Cessna at the Law Office of Christopher
H. Cessna is a successful, experienced DUI attorney. He works diligently
to uncover any violations that may have occurred at the roadblock or with
any field sobriety tests, breath tests, and other procedures, including
possible rights violations. These matters could result in reduced charges
or dismissal of the case.
Connect with his firm today to find out how he can protect you and your rights.