Who Gets Stopped At Sobriety Checkpoints?
Police are not permitted to stop every vehicle that passes through a Virginia sobriety checkpoint. Instead, authorities employ a mathematical formula to determine which vehicles will be stopped (such as every 4th vehicle, and so on).
Another requirement of sobriety checkpoints is that police must strive to minimize the delay time for each vehicle that passes through. Therefore, you will not automatically be asked to step out of your vehicle if you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint.
Police should only detain drivers at a sobriety checkpoint if they determine there are "obvious" signs of alcohol or drug use. These signs include:
- glassy or bloodshot eyes
- slurred speech
- odor of alcohol on the breath
- erratic or improper driving
If an officer does suspect you of driving under the influence, you will be directed to another area for further examination, thereby allowing the traffic behind you to continue moving.
What to Do At a Virginia Sobriety Checkpoint
If you do happen to get stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, your behavior may determine the course of events, or impact the strength of your DUI defense, should you be arrested for a Virginia DUI. Listed below are tips on how to handle being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint:
- Remain calm - Police officers target vehicles at random at a sobriety checkpoint. Being stopped does not automatically mean you are suspected of DUI.
- Stop immediately - Do not attempt to drive forward or avoid the roadblock. Remain stopped until the police officer tells you to proceed.
- Supply whatever information you are asked to produce - The police officer may ask to see your driver's license and/or proof of auto insurance. It is always a good idea to have these documents within easy reach. (You may even consider gathering them up while you are waiting in line to pass through the sobriety checkpoint).
- Say little or nothing - You are not required to speak to the officer. Any statements you make could possibly be used against you if you are brought up on Virginia DUI charges. Even seemingly innocuous phrases such as "I've only had one drink tonight" could be construed as an admission of guilt.
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