Arizona DUI Checkpoints, What to Know and How to Be Prepared for Them

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In the state of Arizona, DUI laws and the corresponding penalties for violation are among the strictest in the country. To help make sure that the laws are enforced, the state sets up sobriety checkpoints all over the state during various times of the year. The checkpoints are common during holidays like the 4th of July, Memorial Day, New Year’s Eve, and Labor Day. At the checkpoints, police officers are on the lookout for impaired drivers.


What to Expect at DUI Checkpoints

Shot of a driver sitting in his car, being tested with breathalyser by a traffic policeman

Police officers manning a sobriety checkpoint may either stop all passing vehicles or use a pre-determined pattern to stop particular cars. The goal is to determine if the drivers are impaired. Checkpoints are often set up early in the morning or late at night, when the percentage of impaired drivers on the road is at its peak.

When you are stopped at a checkpoint, officers may request to search your vehicle. Unless they have legal grounds to perform the search, you may refuse their request. If they order you to step out of your car, do so, but lock the door once you get out of the car, unless explicated instructed otherwise.

You have the right to refuse to take all field sobriety test. This includes the any of the tests which will ask you the track a pen with your eyes, walk in a straight line, touch your nose, or reciting the alphabet. Thus, even if you are eventually charged with a DUI, the officer cannot include how you did on those tests as a reasons to arrest you.

You may also be asked to undergo breath alcohol testing to determine the level of your blood alcohol content. While you can also refuse to take the test, the consequences of your refusal will result in the loss of your driving privileges. It is best to always ask to speak to an attorney prior to making the decision on whether you should refuse to take the chemical test.


Effectiveness of Sobriety Checkpoints

The police believe that DUI checkpoints are effective in reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road, even if many violators are able to get around them. What’s important is for the public to be aware that impaired driving is never tolerated. Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies, there are three DUI arrests done by roving patrols for every arrest made at a DUI checkpoint.


Preparing for Arizona DUI Checkpoints

Following are some tips on how you can prepare for DUI checkpoints:

  • If you can, determine where the checkpoints in your area will be set up prior to a holiday. Locations are usually posted on state and city government websites, and announced on local news, the radio, and in newspapers.
  • Make sure you have your registration and license within easy reach, in case an officer stops you. If that happens, immediately present the documents. You may arouse suspicion if you fumble in getting your license and registration.
  • Don’t offer more information than what the law requires you to supply. Even when an officer asks, you don’t have to tell him where you’re going or where you came from. Likewise, you don’t have to provide information about your past or recent drug or alcohol.
  • If there are other people riding with you, it is important that they are not seen with any drug paraphernalia or open alcohol containers.
  • While at a checkpoint, always be respectful and remain calm. Whether you are impaired or not, showing rudeness or nervousness will do you no good. You have to stay composed at all times. When asked, produce your registration and license right away. Never complain during the entire time.
Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law Outside Front Office

Robert Dodell Office Outside

If you or any of the passengers are charged with a DUI or possession of illegal drugs at a DUI checkpoint in Arizona, it is important that you immediately seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney like Robert A. Dodell.

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Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law
10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(480) 860-4321


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