What to Know About DUI Checkpoints

DUI checkpoints are legal in the state of Maryland, however, there are several misconceptions and misunderstandings people have about these law enforcement tools. It is important to know DUI checkpoint protocols as well as your rights regarding them. Here, the DUI/DWI attorneys at the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse explain what every driver should know about DUI checkpoints.

DUI Checkpoints Must Be Publicized Before Being Enacted

The National Highway Safety Transportation Board has issued guidelines regarding the use of DUI checkpoints, and one of the most critical guidelines they have established is that all DUI checkpoints must be publicly announced prior to their establishment. While the exact location does not need to be disclosed, the county, city and date of the checkpoint needs to be publicly announced. Information about recent or upcoming DUI checkpoints in Maryland can be found here.

If You Arrive at a Checkpoint, You Do Not Have to Go Through It

If you are driving and see a DUI checkpoint has been established further along the road, you are not required to drive through it. The police cannot arrest you for turning around to avoid the checkpoint, and the police department must provide a safe way for drivers to turn around should they wish to avoid it.

You are Not Required to Answer All Questions or Perform All Actions

While you are required to answer any identity-related questions—questions about your name, address, driver’s license or registration—you do not have to answer questions regarding where you are coming from, where you are going or what you have been doing. You are also not required by law to open your window to speak to an officer and may speak to them through your vehicle’s window instead. As with any interaction, police officers must have probable cause to ask you to perform a sobriety test, leave your vehicle, open your trunk or any other requested task besides a request for your license and registration.

Drivers Must Be Selected in a Predetermined, Random Pattern

Not all drivers who go through a DUI checkpoint will be stopped and questioned. The drivers who are stopped by law enforcement, however, must be chosen in a predetermined, random pattern, such as every other car, or every third car. Law enforcement officials are not allowed to stop drivers on the basis of their age, race, ethnicity, gender or any other outward physical characteristic.

A DUI Attorney Can Provide Legal Counsel if You Are Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint

Law enforcement officials have the right to arrest a driver at a DUI checkpoint who exhibits suspicious behavior and fails a sobriety test. Any individual arrested at a DUI checkpoint is not required to answer any questions asked by law enforcement until their attorney is present to provide counsel. The DUI attorneys at the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse are dedicated to protecting the rights of Maryland drivers. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or DWI, it is not too late to retain experienced legal counsel. Contact the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse today for a free consultation.  

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