DUI Checkpoints and Your Rights

The 3 Major Defense Strategies a DUI Lawyer Can Use

DUI checkpoints can be unnerving for almost any driver. Drunk driving enforcement in Maryland is critical for safer roads, both for drivers and passengers. So what happens when you happen upon a DUI checkpoint in Maryland? And what do you do if you’ve been drinking?

Learn more about Baltimore DUI defense, navigating a DUI checkpoint, and understanding your rights so you can get the best outcome possible. 

What is a DUI Checkpoint

DUI checkpoints are pre-planned stops along common roads where law enforcement checks drivers for signs of impairment. It is a proactive measure intended to deter individuals from driving under the influence and catch those who do. The risks of driving with a blood alcohol content are numerous and that is what DUI checkpoints intend to crack down on. 

Otherwise known as sobriety checkpoints, DUI checkpoints are legal. Police will interface with drivers to determine if they’ve had any alcohol or drugs before driving and may attempt to assess their sobriety behind the wheel. 

Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint

Understanding your rights at a DUI checkpoint is crucial. As always, you have the right to remain silent and never have to volunteer more information than your identifying name, etc. While law enforcement has the right to stop your vehicle, they do not have the legal right to conduct a vehicle search without probable cause.

As a driver, you can refuse sobriety tests and breathalyzers. These may come with consequences down the line, sometimes a temporary suspended license, but is your right to protect yourself.

When at a DUI checkpoint in Maryland, remain calm and respectful. Working to de-escalate a situation can better help you protect your rights later in court vs confrontional at the scene.  

Field Sobriety Tests: What You Need to Know

Field sobriety tests at a DUI checkpoint in Maryland may be administered to determine a driver’s level of impairment. As a driver, you have the right to refuse these tests. The tests are based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and are often standardized.

While you may have the right to refuse these tests, doing so can result in a license suspension or arrest. It is important to understand that you will want to seek legal counsel ASAP following an arrest or suspension to help defend your case.

No matter if you engage or deny a sobriety test, you want to remain calm and respectful. DUI defense is more easily handled with a calm interaction vs an aggressive one. During your sobriety test, you may be asked to engage in tests of balance, reflexes, and reaction time. You have the right to inform the law enforcement of any physical issues that may affect these tests and your results. 

Refusing a Breathalyzer: Pros and Cons

The decision to refuse a breathalyzer at a DUI checkpoint in Maryland is a personal one that should be made after considering the potential consequences. Some drivers may opt out of a breathalyzer so there is no immediate evidence of intoxication behind the wheel. While refusal can come with an immediate temporary license suspension, this can be more easily corrected than an immediate DUI conviction.

There are cons, however, to refusing a breathalyzer in Maryland. Obtaining a license means implied consent to taking a breathalyzer when asked by law enforcement and will have administrative consequences. Refusing one may also be seen as a sign of guilt and can be used against you in court.

Having a DUI lawyer is critical after refusing a breathalyzer to help protect your rights and driving privileges.  

Choosing the Right Maryland DUI Lawyer

Being stopped at a DUI checkpoint can be intimidating and nerve-racking. Being asked to perform field sobriety tests or take a breathalyzer can be scary and can cause nervous actions. As a driver, you always want to stay calm and consider your actions and what course you want to take.

Contacting a DUI lawyer following an arrest at a DUI checkpoint is important to protect your rights and privileges. Doing so means building a defense to help you avoid penalties, a record, insurance rates rising, job protection, and more.

Your DUI lawyer should be experienced and have references for DUI defense. You want to work with a DUI lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your county and is familiar with the police officers, judges, and more to help present your case in a way that they will understand.

To get the best DUI lawyer in Maryland, you want to check reviews and schedule free consults to better understand your options moving forward. Always make a checklist of the top qualities you want in a DUI lawyer and make sure your legal team meets your needs. 

Looking for info on the consequences of a DUI charge in Maryland? Check out our blog post on what happens after a DUI

Frequently Asked Questions About DUI Checkpoints

Yes, you can refuse a sobriety test at a DUI checkpoint, but consequences may follow. Understanding the implications is crucial, like being arrested or having your license temporarily suspended following further testing. 

Look for experience, specialization, and a track record of successful DUI defense cases. Schedule a free consult to better understand your options and their experience with cases like yours. 

Penalties vary but may include fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. You may be facing higher insurance rates, loss of your job, a breathalyzer interlock system installation, and more.

Yes, a DUI conviction can lead to increased insurance rates. A DUI lawyer can assist in protecting your Maryland points to help keep your insurance manageable. 

Expungement is limited for DUI convictions. While a DUI can sometimes be expunged (check out our article on 8 tips for expunging a DUI) it is not likely or available within the first 10 years. Learning how to navigate a DUI arrest is much more important following a DUI charge. 

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