The police often set up DUI checkpoints during the holiday season as part of their effort to keep drunk drivers off the road. This includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Fortunately, checkpoints have to be announced beforehand in Virginia, so you may be able to avoid them by checking the newspaper, local news, or your town’s police website.
7 Guidelines for Handling a Stop at a Virginia DUI Checkpoint
The police are not permitted to check every vehicle at a checkpoint and often use a mathematical formula—such as stopping every fifth vehicle—to decide who will be stopped. If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you should do the following:
- Remain calm. Remember that being stopped does not mean the police suspect you of driving under the influence. Do not make an illegal U-turn to get out of the checkpoint line. This would give the police grounds to pull you over.
- Cooperate with the police. The officer will most likely ask for your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. Have these items ready to hand to him.
- Say as little as possible. Do not volunteer extra information as any statements—even seemingly innocent ones—could later be used against you.
- You do not have to consent to a search. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you are not required to agree to this.
- Do what the police tell you. If the police officer orders you out of your vehicle, you need to follow his instructions.
- You can refuse a breathalyzer test. You are not required to take a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test—also known as a preliminary breath test. If you do not agree to these tests, you may be arrested. However, if you fail either of these tests—which is easy to do—you could also be arrested. You will need to use your best judgment in deciding what to do.
- Contact an attorney. If you are arrested for DUI, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you protect your rights.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence at a DUI checkpoint during this holiday season, the Easley Law Firm may be able to help you. Call us now today at 888-386-3898 to schedule your free consultation.