Arlington, VA DWI Conviction Lawyer
One of the tools law enforcement uses in their battle against drunk driving is to set up DUI checkpoints. A DUI checkpoint is a temporary stop that a driver goes through where police can check to see if a driver is operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. DUI checkpoints have not been without controversy, with cases and claims of law enforcement manning these stops violating drivers’ rights. It is critical for every driver to understand what their rights are if they are stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Virginia. The following is a brief overview of what a driver’s rights are at a checkpoint. If you have been stopped at a checkpoint and charged with driving while intoxicated, contact a DWI conviction lawyer Arlington VA clients recommend from May Law, LLP right away.
Do I Have to Answer the Officer’s Questions?
Many people are under the mistaken impression that they are required to answer any question police ask them when they have been stopped at a DUI checkpoint, but the law does not require a driver to do so. If a police officer asks a driver where they are driving from or what they have been doing, the driver does not have to answer that question. Instead, the driver should just say they prefer not to answer these questions.
As a DWI lawyer Arlington VA families trust can explain, police use these types of questioning tactics to try to obtain evidence against the driver, tricking them into incriminating themselves. Under the Constitution, if a person is not under arrest, then a police officer has no right to interrogate them. What a driver is required to do at a checkpoint is to give the officer their driver’s license and registration if the officer asks for it.
Do I Have to Let Police Search My Vehicle if They Ask?
Although police do have the right to briefly stop drivers at DUI checkpoints, under the Fourth Amendment, they do not have the right to search vehicles without probable cause or permission of the driver. Under no circumstances should you grant police permission to search your vehicle, even if you do not think you have anything incriminating or illegal in your car. For example, you have no idea what a prior passenger in your vehicle may have accidentally dropped hat could be illegal. If you grant permission to search your vehicle and this item was found, police could arrest you on the spot.
If police search your vehicle without your permission, they must prove to the court that they had probable cause to do so, such as smelling alcohol on your breath or seeing an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
Have You Been Charged?
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, contact May Law, LLP right away to schedule a free consultation with an Arlington VA DWI conviction attorney to find out what legal options you may have for a defense.