DUI checkpoints in Colorado are legal, which means you are required to stop and comply with lawful police orders if you intend to pass through a sobriety checkpoint. You may have heard that other states have banned DUI checkpoints, but this is not the case in Colorado.
With New Year’s Eve and other festivities on the horizon, it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities should you encounter a DUI checkpoint. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a DUI Checkpoint?
Also sometimes called a sobriety checkpoint, a DUI checkpoint is a stretch of road cordoned off by law enforcement. DUI checkpoints are typically well lit, and you’ll see a lot of law enforcement vehicles on or off to the side of the road, often with their lights flashing. You may even see a traffic message board alerting you that you’re approaching a DUI checkpoint.
Put simply, you should be able to recognize a DUI checkpoint when you see it ahead of you.
What Am I Required to Do at a DUI Checkpoint?
A DUI checkpoint isn’t something people regularly encounter, so it’s understandable if you’re not sure what you are supposed to do. Typically, you are required to follow police orders to stop. You will probably be asked to show your license and registration, which you must do.
You don’t have to answer any questions or engage in small talk. You probably shouldn’t, anyway. The reason is that the police are looking for evidence that someone may be intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. If you misspeak or stutter because you are nervous, this can be enough for the police officer to elevate the situation and conduct a more involved investigation.
If you are asked to step out of the vehicle, you must do so. At this point, the police officer may ask you to perform a Field Sobriety Test or a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Breath Test. You are NOT required to do either of these tests, and there is no legal consequence for declining to do them. If the police officer believes you are intoxicated, you may be arrested for DUI, DWAI, or underage drinking and driving.
What Happens If I Get Arrested?
If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint, you must give a sample of your breath or blood as evidence. Failing to do so will incur an automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license, even if you aren’t ultimately charged or convicted for DUI. It’s also important to consider that your refusal to submit a sample of your breath or blood can be used to convict you.
If you are driving with a friend or family member who is sober and can legally drive, the police may release your vehicle to them. Otherwise, your vehicle may be impounded, and you’ll have to pay to release it later.
Can I Turn Around to Avoid a DUI Checkpoint?
Yes. If you wish to avoid a DUI checkpoint for any reason, you can turn around and head in the opposite direction as long as you don’t violate any traffic laws. If you do, police officers from the checkpoint may conduct a traffic stop. You’ll probably be investigated for DUI and cited for the traffic violation.
What Should I Do If I’m Arrested for DUI?
If you are arrested for DUI, immediately reach out to a criminal defense attorney. A legal representative with experience handling DUI cases can help you reduce or even dismiss your charges. Orr Law Firm can help! If you want to learn how, connect with us today and request a free initial consultation.