It seems that there is a different DWI checkpoint conducted by a different law enforcement agency in the Greene County area every single week. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, a checkpoint was conducted in a residential neighborhood in West Springfield from 4:00 p.m. until about 8:00 p.m. Not only can these checkpoints be burdensome and time consuming, but they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety even for the most law abiding citizens. With yet another checkpoint scheduled this weekend by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, it seems prudent to explain your rights and give my advice as to what to do when encountering a DWI checkpoint.
The first thing you have to keep in mind is that you are under absolutely no obligation to roll down your window and speak to these officers. In fact, I would encourage you not to. Feel free to assert your constitutional rights; after all, it exists as a protection from an overbearing and over-reaching government. Secondly, you are under no obligation to provide officers with your driver’s license or insurance card if you are not suspected of a traffic violation or with someone who is. Although it would be a courtesy to provide those items, you are certainly not obligated to do so.
Below is what I would advise you to keep in writing in your vehicle just in case you encounter a checkpoint. The below is a point by point recitation of your rights, complete with supporting case law. I always encourage people to assert their rights, especially in light of overzealous and over bearing police work.
YOU HAVE DIRECTED ME INTO A DWI CHECKPOINT – I AM HERE AGAINST MY WILL
1) I am not in an Intoxicated Condition as defined by RSMo. Section 577.001.3. I have not committed nor am I in the process of committing a traffic offense.
2) You have no basis in law or in fact to suspect me of a traffic offense or of a crime; therefore, I do not have to supply my license and insurance card to you pursuant to Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 434-35 (1991), and State of Missouri v. Dixon, 218 S.W.3d 14, 19 (Mo.App. W.D., 2007).
3) Based on my respect for law enforcement, even in light of this terrible inconvenience and invasion of my personal freedom, please see my license and insurance card on the window below. (then put those items on the window for inspection)
4) If you believe Missouri law requires me to roll down my window, speak to you, and hand you my license and insurance card, please understand that law would be unconstitutional pursuant to the 4th Amendment as outlined in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court of Nevada, Humboldt County, 542 U.S. 177, 188 (2004).
5) With all due respect, I will not roll down my window or unlock my car unless you present me with an arrest warrant or a search warrant.
6) Please let me know when I am free to leave your DWI Checkpoint that I have been directed into against my will.
7) I thank you for your time and certainly wish you a nice, safe evening.
By kindly asserting your rights in this matter in writing, but at the same time providing the officers the information they desire, you should be saved the the time and stress that normally comes with these increasingly common occurrences. Best of luck and don’t hesitate to contact me should you ever need the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.