1. Should you come to a DWI checkpoint, think carefully before turning away. A turn away from a DWI checkpoint along with other circumstances, such as the time, place and manner in which the turn is made, may constitute a legal basis for a law enforcement officer to stop you. Do know that you cannot break the law when turning away from a DWI checkpoint, such as crossing over a double yellow line.
2. Slow your vehicle down as you approach the checkpoint. Failure to do so may raise concerns with law enforcement. You also do not want law enforcement to feel the need to engage you in a chase.
3. Once you are stopped at a DWI checkpoint, be polite, cooperate with the law enforcement officer and remain calm. Provide your license and registration when requested.
4. Just because you are stopped does not automatically mean you are going to be arrested. Be aware that you do have the right to remain silent. The law enforcement officer may ask you where you are coming from or if you have been drinking. You do not need to answer these questions. Tell the law enforcement officer that you are expressing your right to remain silent.
5. You are not required to consent to a search of your vehicle. Politely decline the officer’s request.
6. If a law enforcement officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, comply immediately. Failure to do so can be considered resisting arrest, which can lead to fines and jail time.
7. When you step out of your vehicle, continue to remain calm and resist the urge to lean against your vehicle, as that can make you look impaired.
8. You may be asked to take a field sobriety or a breathalyzer test. You do not have to submit to either test, however, failure to do so can result in fines and time in jail. You may also lose your driver’s license for up to 1 year.
9. Do not drive away from the checkpoint until you are sure the law enforcement officer has cleared you. If you unsure, you can ask the law enforcement officer if it is OK to leave. Remember to follow all the traffic rules when you drive away, such as using your blinker and do not drive above the speed limit.
10. If you are arrested, remain silent and ask for a lawyer. Law enforcement may not continue to question you once you have requested a lawyer.
As always, if you are charged with a DWI either through a traffic stop or a DWI checkpoint, contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca, P.C. at (516) 500-1647 once you are able to do so and we can assist you with your legal needs. Our office will be open during the holidays for any emergency legal needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us.