As the weather gets warmer, more people will be out celebrating the Spring and Summer holidays. This means sobriety checkpoints are on the way. Law enforcement agencies around the country conduct sobriety checkpoints in order to discourage and deter drunk driving. These checkpoints are set up at random and are legal.
Some people have questioned this, wondering if their Fourth Amendment rights are being violated? The United States Supreme Court determined that sobriety checkpoints are legal, subject to state laws. Maryland does permit them. This is because checkpoints are a way to prevent drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs from injuring or killing others who are on the road.
What should I do if I’m stopped at a checkpoint?
Should the police stop you at a sobriety checkpoint, be polite. If you haven’t been drinking, the stop should only take a few minutes if you cooperate.
What if I refuse to cooperate?
You are within your rights to refuse to cooperate at a sobriety checkpoint. However; if you refuse to submit to field sobriety testing and the officer suspects you have been drinking or are high on drugs, you will be arrested.
Can I turn my car around?
Yes, if you can safely turn your car around before you reach the checkpoint, you may do so. Understand that if you violate any laws while attempting to turn your car around, you may receive a traffic ticket – and the mere act of turning around may attract undue attention from other officers on the scene.
What if I cooperate and I am given a DUI?
If the police determine that you are driving while impaired due to alcohol or drug consumption, you will be arrested. You have the right to be Mirandized and the right to speak to an experienced legal guide.