Many clients have had the unfortunate luck of driving through a DUI checkpoint and ending up with a DUI charge. This page is to give you some guidance on what happens at a DUI checkpoint-and, if you're fortunate enough to be reading this as your friend drives through a checkpoint, to give you some options to consider.
No attorney can advise you to break the law, or violate administrative sections of the law. However, you need to be advised on what will happen to you depending on what choices you make. First, the police use the field sobriety tests to determine (1) are you intoxicated, and (2) can they force you to take the breath / blood / urine test? Many of our clients take the field sobriety test, realize they are under the influence, and then refuse the breath test not knowing that they have still probably given the prosecutor enough to convict them with.
If you refuse a field sobriety test, the police are likely going to charge you with a refusal; however, the prosecutor will also have a hard time proving you were actually DUI. Why? The field sobriety test provides proof you are intoxicated; the breath test proves your blood level is over a certain limit.
If you are convicted, the first time, you can have your license suspended for 6 months up to 3 full years. The police are going to make a very big deal about the fact that if you take the breath test you "will only lose your license for 90 days but if you refuse you will lose it for a year." What they fail to mention is that you could lose it for three full years after you get convicted by taking a breath test. If you prevail on your DUI / OVI case, there is a very good chance that one-year suspension goes away. This is why information is powerful.
You should make your decisions based upon all the facts. Not just what the police want you to know.
Sometimes, clients telling us they were arrested after going through a DUI checkpoint. They often ask what they should have done and what the consequences are. Most people are not aware that they can avoid the checkpoints all together, that they can refuse the field sobriety tests, and that they can refuse the breath test.
Some people, upon being confronted with a DUI checkpoint, will turn around prior to entering the checkpoint. How you avoid the checkpoint will determine whether an officer can lawfully detain you for doing so.
So, can the police stop you for avoiding a DUI checkpoint? Possibly!
If you turn prior to entering the checkpoint and do so in a normal, sober manner, the police have no basis upon which to stop you. If, however, you attempt to leave the checkpoint after entering, the officer may be able to stop you. Likewise, if you commit a traffic violation while attempting to avoid the checkpoint, an officer may also be able to stop you. Assuming you turned prior to entering the checkpoint and obeyed all traffic laws, any subsequent stop may have been unreasonable. If you are facing charges after attempting to avoid a checkpoint, it is important that to have an aggressive defense in place to protect you from unfounded charges.
We at Patituce & Associates understand how difficult these cases can be on our clients, and let's be honest: if you are already searching for information on Cleveland DUI checkpoints, you are well aware of all of the problems associated with a DUI arrest. Before you head out, make sure you have our information. If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, or pulled over, make sure you are ready to invoke your right to an attorney. When you present our card to the officer, be firm in your request to have an attorney present. But also remember to be polite and decline to answer questions other than your name, social security number, and home address.
We feel very strongly that you should not have to pay in order to speak with one of our attorneys. Call us at (440) 709-8088 and ask to speak with us regarding your DUI arrest!