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Can Police Use Evidence From A Sobriety Checkpoint to Arrest Me?

Aug 05 2016, by Sean Hessler in Alcohol, Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, OWI

Most people roll up to a random checkpoint and expect to hand the police their license, answer a question or two, and be on their way. It’s inconvenient, but not a major worry. The police use these stops to catch impaired drivers on the road. You can be arrested at a random checkpoint for an OWI/DUI if the police find evidence that you’ve been drinking or taking drugs that affect your ability to drive safely.

If you were arrested for drunk driving at a sobriety checkpoint, contact the experienced Indianapolis OWI/DUI defense attorneys of Hessler Law at (317) 886-8800.

Your Rights at a Sobriety Checkpoint

It’s important to know that you can avoid a sobriety checkpoint if you see it in the distance. If you realize there is a stop up ahead and you need to get home or to work on time, you can make any legal maneuver to change your route and avoid it. You just can’t make an illegal U-turn, speed, or anything else that would violate the law to get around it.

You can’t be chosen at random. The police must stop cars based on a certain equation. It could be every car or it could be every other or third vehicle. It will feel random to you, but the police aren’t picking and choosing whomever they want to stop. This could lead to discrimination.

If you’re stopped, the police will ask for your driver’s license and possibly your insurance or registration. You are required to identify yourself and show the police your license. You should roll down your window and show the officer your license and insurance card or registration. After this, you do not have to answer any other questions or provide any other information about where you’ve been or what you’ve been doing. Don’t argue with the officer, but you can simply say “Officer, I’m choosing to remain silent.”

How do the Police Gather Evidence at Checkpoints?

The police use a number of tactics to determine if you’ve been drinking and driving. They will watch your movements when you get your license and insurance. They will look for signs of drinking like open containers in the car, the smell of alcohol, slurred words, and bloodshot eyes.

The police may ask you to get out of the car and perform a field sobriety test. You must get out of the vehicle, but you can refuse to perform any field sobriety tests. You are not required to take these tests and your refusal cannot be held against you. Taking a field sobriety test is rarely recommended because it allows the police to gather more evidence against you.

The police may ask you to take a breath test. Under Indiana’s implied consent law, you already agree to submit to a chemical test such as this. If you refuse, you face an administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

As you can see, the police can use evidence from what they can see in your car, your actions, your answers, and the results of a field sobriety or breath test to determine if there is reasonable suspicion that you’ve been driving while intoxicated. If you blow a 0.08 percent BAC or higher, or there are other physical or mental signs of impairment, the police can arrest you at the checkpoint.

Call an Indianapolis DUI Defense Attorney for Help

If you were arrested for an OWI/DUI at a checkpoint, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Hessler Law at (317) 886-8800 today. Your lawyer will work with you to determine if the roadblock was constitutional. If the police violated any of the strict rules regarding how they are allowed to use a checkpoint and stop cars, the evidence they gathered may be inadmissible.