DUI Checkpoints in Arizona

(cc) Sam Howzit from Flickr

The holiday season is upon us. There will be lots of wonderful holiday parties and events to go to, and while you are out reveling, the police in the Phoenix area will be setting up DUI checkpoints to help ensure that everyone is getting home safely at the end of the night. Thousands of people are arrested every year in Arizona at DUI checkpoints.

The U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that DUI checkpoints (also called sobriety checkpoints) are legal, even though in other circumstances law enforcement needs a reasonable suspicion that you are breaking or about to break the law to stop you. Officers at DUI checkpoints must stop every car but the stop must be brief and not too intrusive.

This is permissible because there is high need to promote public safety.  The court decided that this minimal intrusion is allowed to prevent drunk driving accidents, injuries, property damage, and deaths.

The Phoenix area police departments and the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office often announce in advance when and where they will be setting up their DUI checkpoints to deter drunk driving in the community. There is nothing wrong with avoiding the streets where these checkpoints are set up. Additionally, many drivers use Twitter and Facebook to warn others where they find a DUI checkpoint.

If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, here are some tips to assert your rights:

  • You must provide your license to law enforcement officer upon request.
  • You are not required to answer any of the officer’s questions. Politely inform him or her that you wish to observe your Constitutional rights and not answer any questions.
  • If the officer asks to search your vehicle, calmly tell him or her that you do not consent to the search.
  • If the officer asks to you take a field sobriety test, politely decline. If the officer wants to test the alcohol content of your breath, blood, or urine, you must comply with him or her, or else you will lose your license for up to 12 months, even if you are sober.
  • If you are arrested, do not answer any questions until after you have spoken with an attorney.
  • If you wish to warn others about where the DUI checkpoint is, do not text or tweet about it while you’re driving. It’s dangerous and you could get a ticket for it.

Of course, the best way to avoid getting a DUI in Arizona is not to drink and drive. Be safe out there and happy holidays!

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact an attorney for DUI at Oracle Law Group Office P.C. for assistance with your DUI case.