Talbot County officers and Maryland State Police officers held a DUI checkpoint on a Friday night about two weeks ago in Easton between 9 and 11 PM. During that time period, they checked 148 vehicles and ended up arresting two suspects, one who they also suspected of carrying illicit drugs. DUI checkpoints are technically legal in the State of Maryland, though how they are carried out is not necessarily always either legal or ethical. DUI checkpoints will many times break your fourth amendment right to protection against illegal search and seizure, especially if officers attempt to force you to get out of your car or participate in their “roadside gymnastics” (more commonly known as field sobriety tests).
What Constitutes a Legal DUI Checkpoint?
- Officers must announce it in advance – If there is a checkpoint in your area, you will usually hear about it one of a couple ways. The police station may use newspaper, radio, and/or sign posts to announce the location and duration of the checkpoint. If they do not notify the public, the checkpoint is considered to be null.
- Uniformed officers must be present – You will not be pulled over by an unmarked vehicle or by someone who is not in uniform. The officer must very clearly be wearing his or her uniform and be prepared to show you identification as well.
- Choosing vehicles must be systematic – At a checkpoint, an officer cannot make someone stop simply because they believe the person to be impaired, though they can have another officer pull that person over further down the line if they are still exhibiting traits of impaired driving. Most checkpoints are every other car, every two cars, or something similar.
What You Should Do if You Encounter a DUI Checkpoint
- Know what questions to answer – You are only required to answer questions pertaining to your identity. If an officer asks you for your name and address or your ID, kindly provide it, but you are not require to answer any other questions put to you concerning your whereabouts during the evening or where you are planning to go. You are within your rights to politely decline.
- Be prepared to call your lawyer – Even if you are very polite about declining to ask questions, officers will become suspicious and will likely decide to attempt to find something to arrest you for. Do not give them a reason to do so. If you feel that you have been wrongly arrested or that you are being treated unfairly, you should immediately call your Maryland DUI lawyer.
Bruce Robinson – Your Maryland DUI Lawyer
Robinson and Associates is a criminal defense firm. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact us for a free review of your case. To schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit our websitewww.MarylandCriminalLawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.