DUI Checkpoint Law and Traffic Stops in Arizona
It is no secret that Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the nation. Both DUI checkpoint law and traffic stops are integral components of law enforcement’s continual crackdown on driving under the influence crimes.
- Although sobriety checkpoints are preplanned to correlate with major holidays like New Years, July 4th and Thanksgiving, DUI traffic stops can occur unannounced anytime day or night, 365 days a year
Should you be stopped under suspicion of a DUI, it is very important to understand that you have rights. Your most important right in these cases is your right to remain silent under the auspice that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
This right should be exercised at all times, and then immediately followed with consulting an experienced Phoenix Arizona DUI lawyer who has extensive knowledge of the DUI checkpoint law in Arizona. You should also seek out an aggressive Phoenix Arizona DUI lawyer who will fight to make sure your rights are upheld throughout the entire legal process.
DUI Checkpoint Law and 4th Amendment Rights
Due to the fact that DUI checkpoint law allows police to stop motorists without provocation, some people feel they violate a person’s 4th amendment right to be free from unwarranted search and seizure. Although these checkpoints are legal in Arizona, law enforcement must abide by certain guidelines to ensure they remain in accordance with your rights. Some of these guidelines include:
- Publicly announcing checkpoint locations in advance
- Designating a method as to how they stop cars, instead of engaging in random searches
If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities. Some of these include:
- Presenting your license and registration to authorities. Keep this information easily accessible in order to dispense immediately, as any fumbling or nervousness could arouse suspicion and give officers cause to ask you to step out of your vehicle.
- Only answering questions required by law. Do not say whether or not you have been drinking alcohol or consuming drugs. You do not have to tell the officers where you are coming from or going, nor do you have to supply any information about any drug or alcohol use recently or in the past.
- Making sure your occupants are also abiding by the law. This includes making sure no passenger has an open container, or any drug paraphernalia for which you can be charged if discovered.
- Staying calm and respectful at all times. This is more a responsibility than a right, but regardless of innocence or guilt, getting belligerent or upset will only make the situation worse, even if you are sober and not breaking any laws.
If you are singled out during a DUI checkpoint law stop, or feel in any way that your rights were violated during questioning, it is important to remain silent and invoke your right for legal counsel if necessary. An experienced, aggressive Phoenix Arizona DUI lawyer can review the details of your stop, listen to your account, and help determine the best way to proceed based on the facts of your case.
DUI Traffic Stops in Arizona
A DUI traffic stop is different than a sobriety checkpoint, because an officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of intoxicating drugs or alcohol in order to pull you over. Sometimes, you can be pulled over for a direct violation of traffic laws and then suspected of being under the influence as an afterthought, like:
- If you are speeding
- If your registration is expired
- If you run a red light
- If you weave or drift between two or more lanes erratically
However, other times you can be pulled over due to a “grey area” violation, which then leads to what the law considers reasonable suspicion you are under the influence, including:
- Vision impediments, like objects hanging from your rear view mirror
- Window tint that is darker than the legal limit
- Driving under the posted speed limit
- Weaving or drifting within a lane
These are based much more on speculation than concrete fact on the part of the officer. In some cases, your matter may be dismissed even if you were arrested for DUI as a result of one of these initial violations.
If you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop, and whether or not DUI circumstances exist, you have similar rights and responsibilities as if you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint:
- You must present your license and registration to the officer
- You must answer only the questions required by law
- You must make sure any occupants are also abiding by the law
- You should remain calm and respectful at all times, because not doing so can lead to detainment and possible charges filed against you, even if you are not guilty of DUI or another crime
If you feel in any way that your rights were violated during a traffic stop relating to a DUI arrest, it is important to remain silent and invoke your right for legal counsel. An experienced, aggressive defense attorney can review the details of your stop, listen to your account, and help determine the best way to proceed based on the facts of your case.
Trust Laboy Law Phoenix Arizona DUI Lawyer
The consequences for being arrested for, and convicted of, DUI in Arizona are very harsh and long lasting. Therefore, it is essential to consult a reputable Phoenix Arizona DUI lawyer with proven experience defending DUI crimes of all types. We will not stop fighting for your rights, by making sure that every possible legal option and defense strategy is available to you. If you are facing any kind of DUI charge as the result of a traffic stop in Arizona, contact us today for a private, no obligation consultation at 602-777-3368.