Ordinarily, a police officer must have probable cause to pull over a driver for suspicion of DUI. This means that the police officer must have a legally sufficient reason to believe that the driver he or she pulls over is under the influence of alcohol. Swerving around in the road, for example, is a sign of possible intoxication. An exception to this probable cause rule is the use of DUI checkpoints. Although a DUI checkpoint seems to contradict the probable cause requirement, Arizona DUI checkpoints are legal if they meet certain requirements.
For example, DUI checkpoints in Arizona must be carried out in a manner that treats all drivers who pass through the checkpoint equally. In other words, officers at the checkpoint can’t pick and choose who to stop. Without this limitation, officers could use DUI checkpoints as a way to circumvent probable cause and illegally profile drivers. So, since DUI checkpoints are legal in Arizona when conducted in accordance with certain requirements, it’s important for drivers to understand their rights when stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
Speaking to the Police at a DUI Checkpoint
When a driver is stopped by the police at a DUI checkpoint in Arizona, an officer will approach the vehicle and start asking the driver questions. However, beyond providing basic identifying information, such as identification and vehicle registration, drivers shouldn’t speak to the police about the reasons for the stop. If a police officer suspects that a driver is intoxicated, anything the driver says can later be used against him or her. Also, a driver’s refusal to talk with a police officer can’t be used as evidence of intoxication.
Field Sobriety Tests
In addition to questioning a driver, if a police officer suspects that the driver of a vehicle at a DUI checkpoint is intoxicated, the officer may ask the motorist to perform a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are extremely subjective, and the validity of these tests is shaky at best. Arizona drivers have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, but this refusal may lead to a DUI arrest. In addition, the refusal to take a field sobriety test can be used against a driver when his or her case goes to court.
Have You Been Arrested for an Arizona DUI?
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Arizona, you need an experienced legal team on your side. At the Arizona Lawyers, our Arizona DUI attorneys have extensive experience defending clients who have been charged with all classes of DUI offenses. When we take on your case, we’ll strive to eliminate or minimize the charges and penalties associated with your DUI arrest, preserve your license, and help you avoid jail time. Please contact us as soon as possible for a consultation with one of our talented and experienced Arizona DUI attorneys.