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What You Need to Know About DWIs: FAQ

What You Need to Know About DWIs: FAQ

Being pulled over under a suspicion of a DWI, can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience. Given that we are nearing the holidays, you might also begin to see various DWI checkpoints set up, which allow officers to attempt to remove drunk drivers from the road. While it might be easy to completely forget the fact that you have rights since it is a scary experience, regardless if you have been drinking or not, it is important to be aware of them, so you do not end up cuffed and in the backseat of a police car.

Below is a list of some of the more commonly asked questions regarding driver rights when stopped at a DWI checkpoint:

  • Why are DWI checkpoints legal since, under normal circumstances, a law enforcement cannot stop me without probable cause? DWI checkpoints are considered the exception to this rule. DWI checkpoints are considered the state’s obligation to prevent DWI-related accidents, maintaining the safety of others on the road.
  • What rules do law enforcement officers have to abide by when conducting field sobriety checkpoints? A DWI checkpoint is only valid if the law is followed. These checkpoints are often set up on weekends or celebratory holidays, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve. Some of the factors involved in choosing a location include the number of DWI arrests in the area, the level of safety the location has for both drivers and law enforcement officers, and how visible it will be to approaching drivers.
  • Do all vehicles have to stop at a DWI checkpoint? The courts ruled that every driver can be stopped or there must be a pre-determined formula that prevents discrimination. For example, if law enforcement officers were to stop every fourth driver, this would be considered an acceptable pre-determined formula.
  • What if I do not want to pass through a checkpoint? DWI checkpoints must always be set up clearly, so that a driver can clearly see it in advance and take the opportunity to avoid it. Moreover, avoiding a DWI checkpoint is not probable cause for a law enforcement officer to stop you. That said, if you wish to avoid a DWI checkpoint, you must still obey traffic laws as you try to avoid the DWI checkpoint. If you were to make an illegal U-turn in order to not pass through the checkpoint, a law enforcement would be able to stop you for this offense.
  • What are my rights if I am stopped at a checkpoint? If you are stopped at a DWI checkpoint, law enforcement officers must still have reasonable suspicion in order to detain you. This could be anywhere from the scent of alcohol on your breath, slurred speech, and empty alcohol containers to bloodshot eyes and poor driving.
  • Do I have to submit to testing? If you are asked to perform a field sobriety test, then you have the right to refuse to submit to such testing. These tests, which are notoriously inaccurate can and should always be refused. Chances are, if an officer has already reached this stage, he or she has already decided to arrest you and is simply trying to build more evidence against you. Do not help the prosecution by submitting to these tests.
  • What should I remember about DWI checkpoints? Keep in mind that police officers are human and are often prone to making mistakes. This is why, in the event that you are arrested for a DWI after being stopped at a DWI checkpoint, you must hire a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so you do not have to pay for such mistakes. Remember, a DWI is a serious charge and can have terrible ramifications on your life, so do everything you can to protect your future.

DWI Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Charles

If you are currently facing DWI charges after having been arrested, you should not hesitate to obtain the skilled and aggressive legal counsel you will need to ensure you are able to achieve the best possible results for your case. At Brockmeyer Law Offices, our team of criminal defense attorneys in St. Charles are dedicated to fighting on behalf of every client we serve. Backed by over 65 years of combined legal experience, you can be assured that your case and your future are in good hands with us.

Protect your rights today and contact our law office at (314) 582-5053 to request your free initial case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team. Too much is at stake for you to go through this on your own!

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