Law enforcement officers in Virginia take the enforcement of DUI laws very seriously. One tool that they utilize to arrest drivers who are driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is a sobriety checkpoint. However, the police must follow complicated rules when setting up a DUI checkpoint. If you were stopped at one of these checkpoints and arrested, you may have powerful defenses to the charges you face if the police violated these requirements.
What Are the Rules for DUI Checkpoints in Virginia?
If you are planning to challenge your arrest at a DUI checkpoint, you will need the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney who understands the rules and procedures police must follow and the legal issues involved in these cases. Here are the major requirements in order for a DUI checkpoint stop to be legal:
- Publicizing the checkpoint. The police are required to publicize a DUI checkpoint in advance of setting one up. This can be done on a police department website, newspaper, or local televisions show.
- Stopping drivers. Police officers cannot stop every driver at a sobriety checkpoint or do so randomly. They are required to use a mathematical formula, such as stopping every fourth driver, to decide who to stop. However, different checkpoints can utilize different mathematical formulas.
- Breaking laws. Police are permitted to stop drivers who they believe are breaking the law or have probable cause to believe are doing something wrong. For example, throwing something suspicious out of the window or making a U-turn to avoid the checkpoint may give the police the grounds to stop someone.
- Administering DUI tests. If an officer pulls a person over, the driver is not required to submit to any field sobriety tests. He cannot be required to submit to a BAC test unless he exhibits signs of intoxication.
Were you arrested for DUI at a sobriety checkpoint? Even if you were intoxicated, you may have strong defenses to the charges that could result in their dismissal or reduction to a less serious offense. Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation to learn about our experience helping clients fight DUI charges and how we can assist you.