One of the most anxious moments in anyone’s life is getting randomly pulled over, especially if you know that you are not doing anything wrong. However, getting pulled over and you know that you had a drink just a few hours ago can really hasten the speed of your heartbeat and make you sweat profusely. Now, imagine approaching a DUI checkpoint, drunk, and you know you are in big trouble. For most people this can already trigger them to go into a panic mode.
However, you have to understand that your behavior during a routine DUI stop at a checkpoint can provide law enforcement officers with the probable cause they need to arrest you. Here are some tips on how you need to behave during a routine DUI checkpoint stop.
Keep in mind that the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees you the right not to incriminate yourself. While experts are divided on the refusal of the use of field sobriety tests as grounds for legal action, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that every American has the right not to incriminate himself. In such cases, you may simply politely and respectfully tell the law enforcement officer that you know your Constitutional rights and refuse to answer any other question or perform tests that will incriminate you.
However, know that they can still haul you to jail for refusal. Just go along with them and never resist arrest because doing that will merit an entirely different charge which your DUI lawyer may not be able to easily free you from. The point is for you to understand your fundamental Constitutional rights whenever you get apprehended at a DUI checkpoint.
While remaining calm may be a little bit difficult especially if you had one drink too many, showing respect for law enforcement officers will often free you from additional problems. Count 1 to 10, inhale deeply and slowly through your nose, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This maximizes the oxygen in your lungs to be delivered to the rest of your body particularly your brain. In turn, this should make you feel more relaxed, calmer.
The way you talk with the law enforcement officer can also have an implication on the seriousness of a DUI offense. Understand that it is the duty of law enforcement officers to ‘fish’ for as much information as they possibly can from you which should give them the probable cause for a DUI. While remaining silent all throughout will often lead to suspicion, talking too much is not helpful either. The important thing to remember is for you not to volunteer any information that might be considered incriminating. If the law enforcement officer asks you whether you have had anything to drink, you can politely answer them no. Remember under no circumstances are you supposed to explain yourself.
Never fumble with your documentation. It is imperative that you provide these documentation to the officer in a calm and steady manner. As you approach the checkpoint, be ready with your documents. Also, roll down your window just enough to allow you to talk with the police officer. Never make a U-turn or make any other unnecessary driving maneuvers.
Showing impatience can sometimes be detrimental in any DUI checkpoint situation. It is telling that police officer that you are in a hurry to get through with the process. So, mind your body language as this can speak a lot of things.
The most important thing that you have to remember about your behavior in DUI checkpoints is for you not to aggravate the problem. Knowing your rights, staying calm, and showing respect will get you through this in one piece.