As the holiday approaches we can be sure that police officers will be out in full force trying to catch those individuals who are driving under the influence. One sure fire tactic often employed by the police is the use of a roadblock or police DUI checkpoint. Generally these encounters will last less than a minute, during which time the officer may request to see your drivers license and registration. More than likely they will ask you several questions, including whether you have been drinking. The following are a few tips to help make this intimidating situation a little less so.
- Be polite! Oftentimes an officer is concerned about their safety and will be on high alert. A simple smile followed by a good evening officer will help alleviate some of their concerns and help put you on their good side. This is a generally overlooked tactic that can make the entire stop less stressful and perhaps move it along quicker.
- Be prepared and follow instructions. Get out your license and registration and have it ready for the officer when he gets to your car. Also roll down your window and passenger windows if they are tinted and turn on the inside light. Again the point is to put the officer at ease and will also avoid any fumbling on your part that they could take to be an indicia of intoxication.
- Answer questions but don’t volunteer anything more. You don’t want to appear guarded or on the defensive, but it isn’t necessary to give up any information that may be used against you. If they ask, you can answer the question, but don’t go outside of their questions.
- Drive away when given permission. Slowly and carefully drive away only after permission has been granted. Be careful to avoid any other officers on the road and other motorists. Make sure to avoid speeding or violating any other traffic offenses as you pull away.
Checkpoints are stressful, but by remaining calm and following the above tips, you are less likely to have any issues. If you do find yourself in a situation where the officer pulls you over for further examination, remember you have the right to remain silent and the right to deny them consent to a search of your vehicle. And most important if you end arrested and charged, make sure to call our offices for professional help in dealing with these charges. DUI’s carry some significant penalties and having the right lawyer can make all the difference.