Five Things You Need to Know if You Are Stopped at a Roadblock
1. Think twice about turning when you see a roadblock.
If you see a roadblock or DUI Checkpoint ahead of you, don’t panic and hastily turn down a side street or make a u-turn. Most times the police will be watching the side streets in the area of the roadblock. When they see you, they may pull you over. Also, roadblocks are often set up in areas where making a u-turn would be illegal. Once again, when they see you do this they will pull you over, and at the very least you may get a ticket for making an illegal u-turn.
2. Keep Calm, Cool, and Collected.
You should try to remain as calm as possible. Take a few deep breaths. Getting stopped by the police can be a very stressful time even if you aren’t doing anything wrong. Now is not the time to fumble around inside your car. Police may misinterpret your nervousness as trying to hide something or even as aggression toward them.
3. And Quiet too.
Many times when people are nervous they tend to talk too much. It is very important to remember that you do not have to say anything. That bears repeating. You DO NOT have to say anything to the police. If you ask a police officer how many times they have ever had someone that they suspected of any crime talk their way out of being arrested, he or she will likely tell you the answer is close to none. The small talk the officer is making is not intended to get to know you. He is asking questions to try to build a case against you. You are more likely to tell them something they will twist against you. Always remain polite, but keep your comments to a minimum. The most important thing you can ask is “am I free to leave?” If they say you can, leave immediately and drive very carefully.
4. You DO NOT have to take field sobriety tests.
The NHTSA (the same people who release crash test information about cars) have only approved 3 field sobriety tests. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (the eye test), walk and turn (heal to toe on a line), and 1 leg stand (stand on 1 leg and count by thousands to 30) are the only tests that are nationally recognized to show, with any science, that your driving may be impaired. In future posts I will provide detailed information about each test. The important thing to know about these tests is that they are designed for failure and that many people have trouble successfully completing them when they are sober.
5. You DO NOT have to consent to a search of your vehicle.
Police frequently ask people if it is ok to search their car when they are stopped at a roadblock. You do not have to consent to a search of your car. The police may say something like, “we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” The “easy way” just means that the officer does not have to gather probable cause and ask a judge for a search warrant. If you consent to a search they are allowed to look through your car and evidence they find may be used to prove a case against you.
If you have been stopped at a DUI Checkpoint or other roadblock, contact Your DUI Attorney at (770)387-4LAW today!