Columbus Criminal Attorney Gives the Scoop on DUI Checkpoints
Stopped at a DUI checkpoint? Here’s what you need to know.
You’re driving home from a night out with your friends when traffic begins to slow, and you notice red and blue lights flashing distinctly up ahead. You think, Maybe someone got pulled over for speeding, or maybe it’s an accident.
Then you notice the officers are inspecting every vehicle as it passes by, and you’re suddenly aware of the lump in your throat.
It’s a DUI checkpoint.
What officers are looking for
DUI checkpoints are designed to funnel traffic through an area where officers can observe and question drivers in order to determine if they’re intoxicated. While DUI checkpoints can pop up anywhere, at any time, they are usually more frequent during holidays or near large events where alcohol is being served, such as sports games, fairs or festivals.
Officers will usually follow some sort of pattern when inspecting vehicles, such as every third or fourth car. However, as you approach the checkpoint, police will be watching for suspicious driving behaviors that may give them probable cause to pull you over, such as:
- Slamming on your brakes
- Failures to stop, signal or yield when appropriate
When passing through the checkpoint, an officer may approach your vehicle or motion for you to pull over. This may be because they noticed something suspicious, or it may just be a random check-in. When an officer approaches your vehicle and asks you to roll down the window, there’s a few things they’ll be on the lookout for, including:
- Smell of alcohol
- Aggressive or erratic behavior
- Slurred speech
- Visibly open containers
Even if you haven’t been drinking, DUI checkpoints also help officers snag all types of offenders. For instance, officers will use DUI checkpoints to catch drivers who are:
- Driving with a suspended license
- Driving with no license
- Driving without a current registration
- Driving with some sort of vehicle damage (broken headlight, brake light, etc)
- Driving without insurance
- Wanted for outstanding warrants
Sometimes you don’t even have to drive though the DUI checkpoint in order to get caught. This past year, Cleveland police have been setting up fake drug and sobriety checkpoints.
Basically, the police will set up a sign that says “Sobriety Checkpoint Ahead” or “Drug Checkpoint Ahead.” The thing is, there is no actual checkpoint. Instead, police merely watch the traffic, and go after people who begin to drive suspiciously after they get spooked by the sign.
Contact a Columbus DUI lawyer
As the holiday season approaches, more and more DUI checkpoints will be placed in strategic locations around the city. Of course, the best way to avoid any issues with a DUI checkpoint is simply not to drink and drive.
However, if you get stopped and arrested at a DUI checkpoint, call the professional, experienced Columbus drunk driving attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer at 614-224-6142. Or use our contact form to schedule an appointment at our downtown Columbus office.