Sobriety checkpoints are a useful tool for police to use to keep drunk drivers off the road. They are helpful and aid in reducing the number of people who die each year as a result of drunk driving. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 3,300 people died in drunk driving incidents in Missouri between 2003 and 2012.
In addition to death and injuries, many people have their lives upended as a result of a DWI. Many of these come from sobriety checkpoints when police discover a person drank too much. Regardless of how much you have had to drink, there are certain actions to avoid during these interactions.
Admitting to drinking anything
If you did not drink anything, then you probably can say you have not had anything to drink. However, even if you only had one beer, you should avoid mentioning it at a checkpoint. Police officers can use anything you say against you in court. Do not admit to drinking anything. You can get away with saying, “I do not want to respond to that” when an officer asks you about your alcohol consumption.
Consenting to a search
Occasionally, officers ask to search a person’s car. This is typically only done when there is suspicion the driver drank something. Even if you know you have nothing to hide, you are within your rights to not consent to a search. Police officers cannot search a vehicle without a warrant. However, if you have an illegal substance in your car that is in plain sight, such as a beer bottle out in the open, then officers could legally search your vehicle.
Driving off before having permission
Most sobriety checkpoints only last about a minute, so make sure to stay where you are until the officer says you can leave. An officer can only ask you to pull off to the side of the road if there is suspicion. If an officer asks you, then pull off to the side instead of driving off.