Richmond police use sobriety checkpoints to funnel cars through a controlled area and make random vehicle inspections. They look for signs of driver impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, erratic or improper driving, and any items inside the vehicle to support identified suspicions. It is important to fully understand your rights at a Richmond, VA, DUI checkpoint to remain calm and behave properly to avoid self-incrimination.
What to Expect at a Richmond, VA DUI Checkpoint
If law enforcement has evidence to establish probable cause that the driver is impaired, they are directed to a second area for further investigation. Field sobriety testing and a preliminary breath test are administered. If the driver fails the tests they are taken to the police station, administered a more accurate test for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and arrested on a Richmond DUI charge.
Strict Written Protocols Govern Richmond DUI Sobriety Checkpoints
Police are required to follow strict procedures when operating sobriety checkpoints. By law they have to:
• Provide advanced public notice of the sobriety checkpoint location.
• Employ a standard mathematical formula that dictates which cars to stop to avoid the bias of discrimination, and
• Process drivers within a given time to avoid traffic delay, unless the preliminary examination yields probable cause that the driver is impaired.
If any of the established protocols are violated, a competent Richmond DUI attorney can have your charges dismissed or downgraded when your case is brought before the court.
Throughout the process your behavior can determine the outcome of your traffic stop and impact the strength of your DUI defense if you are arrested for a Virginia DUI. If you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint remember your vital legal rights:
• Remain calm – Being stopped does not mean you are suspected or guilty of DUI. You are innocent until you are proven guilty in a court of law.
• Do not drive away or try to avoid the checkpoint. Follow police instructions.
• Provide any information requested. Have your driver’s license and proof of insurance ready as you approach.
• The purpose of the checkpoint is to get drunk and impaired drivers off the road and to penalize their illegal behavior. Do not give law enforcement pause or reason to gather any evidence against you. You have individual rights that are protected under the law.
• Any statements you make could be used against you in a court of law – supply only the information requested, and limit your statements in case you are charged.
Sobriety checkpoints are legally enforceable measures to keep our Virginia roadways safe, but they can also present an opportunity for a miscarriage of justice. If you are arrested at a Richmond sobriety checkpoint, hire an experienced Boone Beale DUI attorney for legal representation. Our skilled Richmond DUI lawyers understand Virginia DUI law includes the scientific, medical, technological, and legal aspects of your DUI case. They will fight to defend you for the best possible outcome in your case.