Holidays call for celebration, from champagne toasts on New Year’s Eve to ice cold beers on Memorial Day. Unfortunately, if you’re celebrating anywhere other than your own living room, the likelihood of driving through a DUI checkpoint on the drive home is high. While driving under the influence is never a wise decision, it behooves you to know what to expect when faced with a DUI stop. Most importantly, it’s crucial that, if arrested, you immediately seek legal representation with a reputable Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
The true purpose of DUI stops is debatable. One side argues they:
- prevent drunk driving accidents
- increase public awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving
- deter party goers from getting behind the wheel in the first place
Others believe it’s unconstitutional and just another state sanctioned revenue-generator. DUI roadblocks are typically set up in areas of high traffic where a higher probability of accidents exist such as popular entryways and exits to a busy downtown city. Even though roadblocks are clearly marked, by the time you approach one you are essentially in queue with no way to avoid being questioned.
Once stopped, officers will look for signs of impairment such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol. If suspected of drinking and driving, you will then be subjected to a field sobriety test. Most commonly, an officer will conduct an HGN test (horizontal gaze nystagmus – wherein you’re asked to follow an object from side to side with your eyes). The officer will request you take a breath test (Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test, called PAS test).
So what are your rights when facing a sobriety test? The fact is, due to implied consent laws and court decisions, you don’t have many. As the accused often come to realize when reviewing their cases with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer, the police will arrest you if they develop “probable cause” and then require a chemical test.
Hindsight may reveal important life lessons, but the avoidance of DUI checkpoints altogether is the smarter approach. In a perfect world, we’d all know better than to ever become impaired and drive, but the bottom line is—holidays and holiday weekends are the worst times to tempt fate. With the widespread popularity of ride share options and taxis, there is no excuse to get behind the wheel after a night out. To stay safe and avoid the headache of random stops, utilize DUI Checkpoint Finder or Mr. Checkpoint before holiday festivities draw to a close. Not only do such apps provide information on checkpoint locations, they promote awareness with mock sobriety tests and the option to call someone for a ride.
If you are detained, avoid self-incriminating statements which only give officers additional cause for arrest. You are entitled by law to refuse the PAS test. If arrested, submit to a blood test but clearly state you are doing so because the cops told you that you are required by state law to do so.
Further, when arrested, the best course of action is to immediately consult a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Ultimately, reserving a few minutes to discuss transportation plans with friends before drinking gets underway is vital to ensuring a safe and successful holiday party.