What should drivers expect when approaching a DUI checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | DUI Checkpoints

There are many ways that South Carolina police officers help to enforce the state’s laws against drunk driving. They pull people over when their behavior leads an officer to suspect chemical impairment. They perform chemical tests on those involved in collisions. They also organize sobriety checkpoints, also sometimes called driving under the influence (DUI) roadblocks.

These checkpoints allow officers to screen every driver who comes through a particular section of a road for warning signs of intoxication. South Carolina is one of many states that allows police departments to conduct sobriety checkpoints. Weekends, especially near holidays, are often when police departments choose to screen the public or signs of impairment at the wheel.

What should people expect after they encounter a checkpoint?

When a driver spots a sobriety checkpoint ahead, they can potentially turn away if there is a legal opportunity to avoid the checkpoint. However, any drastic maneuvers intended to avoid the checkpoint might draw attention from nearby police officers and lead to a one-on-one traffic stop.

The checkpoint itself may have a bit of a bottleneck because officers have to individually interact with the people that they stop. Therefore, someone might have to wait in a line to talk to an officer. The actual interaction with the officer will be relatively brief. The officer may ask a few questions about someone’s prior activities and where they intend to head.

This cursory screening might lead to officers suspecting intoxication. When someone appears to be under the influence, officers could have them leave the line of traffic for enhanced screening. Otherwise, they should be able to go on with their day after passing through the checkpoint.

Those asked to perform enhanced screening will likely have to undergo a field sobriety test, followed by a chemical breath test in some cases. If someone fails the field sobriety or breath tests, then they may need to worry about an arrest and DUI charges.

Those arrested at a checkpoint still have options

Anyone accused of a DUI offense could potentially defend themselves in a number of different ways, depending on the circumstances. Challenging the evidence or the nature of the traffic stop can be a way for someone to fight back against pending DUI charges based on a checkpoint arrest.

Working with an experienced legal professional to review the evidence that the state claims to have is a smart starting point for those who want to avoid a DUI conviction.

National College for DUI Defense | General Member

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