What Should I Do If I’m Stopped at a DWI Checkpoint?

sobriety checkpoint sign at night, cars in background

You may notice an increase in DWI checkpoints this summer. If you end up stopped while passing through a checkpoint, here’s what you should do to protect yourself.

What is a DWI Checkpoint?

A DWI checkpoint, sometimes called a sobriety checkpoint, is a roadblock set up by police to catch drunk drivers. When drivers go through this designated area of the road, they are subject to be stopped and further investigated for signs of intoxication. If the police deem the driver to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may be arrested at the checkpoint.

What To Do If You’re Stopped at a Checkpoint in New York

Here is some advice to keep in mind to help you get through the checkpoint.

  • Use your rights: You still have the right to remain silent at a checkpoint. If the officer asks you questions about whether or not you’ve been drinking, state that you are using your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
  • Refuse field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests are voluntary and there is no legal penalty for refusing to take them. If the officers asks you to perform these evaluations, decline to do so.
  • Remain respectful: Though you may be frustrated at the stop, remain calm and respectful toward the officer. Any hostility could cause the situation to escalate and could hurt your future case.

Turning Around To Avoid a Checkpoint

If you see a checkpoint on the road, you may wonder if you can turn around in order to avoid going through it. The answer is– it depends.

If you have entered the checkpoint already, you cannot turn around and leave. This could be considered checkpoint evasion.

However, if you are still far enough away from the stop, you may be able to turn onto a side street to avoid going through the checkpoint. As long as you follow traffic laws when making your turn, you are able to do so. Still, the police may take notice and find your turn suspicious. They may follow and stop you.

Arrested after a DWI Checkpoint in NYS?

If you were arrested after going through a DWI checkpoint, contact our team at Schillinger & Associates. We will look into all details of the checkpoint, your stop, and your arrest to build the best possible defense on your behalf.