Protecting Your Rights At A DWI Checkpoint
DWI checkpoints are popular with law enforcement agencies that want to prevent drinking and driving, particularly during holidays when more people will be out on the roads. If you get stopped in one of these traffic checkpoints, it is important that you know how to protect your rights. Your DWI defense starts at the moment you begin your interaction with a police officer. Here are a few things you should know.
You Do Not Have To Answer Leading Questions
You have the right to remain silent, even if you aren't under arrest. A police officer cannot compel you to incriminate yourself. If you are asked whether or not you have been drinking, you can politely refuse to answer or ask to have an attorney present during questioning. You should answer questions that are meant to identify you. Provide your name and identification if asked, and acknowledge that the officer is speaking to you, even if you aren't going to answer any questions directly about your guilt or lack thereof. Remember that you can't be arrested simply for not answering an officer's questions.
You May Have To Submit To A Sobriety Test
Depending on what state you are driving in, you may be legally obligated to submit to a DWI checkpoint sobriety test. In 38 states and in Washington DC, it is legal to require a driver to submit to a sobriety test. Several states have implied consent laws that give law enforcement officials the right to administer a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. In these states, refusal to submit to the test can equal automatic fines, license suspensions and other legal consequences. Be sure you know what your state's laws are regarding implied consent and DWI checkpoints before you go out on the road.
If You Are Arrested
If you are arrested, you should immediately cease speaking to the officer except to ask for your attorney. Once you arrive at the police station, call your DWI defense lawyer and provide him or her with the contact information of a family member. Your lawyer can reach your family member or emergency contact to let them know where you are and when or if bond can be posted. Arrange to meet with your lawyer as soon as possible so you can begin to build your defense case and fight the charges.
While DWI checkpoints are legal, you do have certain rights under the law. Knowing what can and can't be asked of you can help you to successfully mount a defense in the event you are arrested. Visit Garrett Law Firm, PA if you have any questions.