While normal traffic stops are part of law enforcement activities, the police also use other methods to keep people safe during peak driving times. One way that police departments in and around Las Vegas, Nevada, are keeping people safe is by using DUI checkpoints. Even with the added safety they bring, however, many people wonder, “Are the Las Vegas DUI checkpoints legal?” when they encounter them. At De Castroverde Law Group, we are here to answer all your legal questions about DUI checkpoints. For more information about DUIs in general and ways, a Las Vegas DUI Attorney can help you follow the link here.
Is a Las Vegas DUI Checkpoint Legal?
A DUI checkpoint, or sobriety checkpoint, is a method that some law enforcement agencies and officials use to test drivers for intoxication. Law enforcement typically sets up checkpoints on interactions or long stretches of road where there is a reasonable flow of traffic. While they may set up a checkpoint any time, law enforcement typically sets them up when impaired driving is more common. This includes at night, on weekends, and during holidays. While they may slow traffic down somewhat, DUI checkpoints are a way to keep you and other drivers safe.
According to both United States and Nevada laws, DUI checkpoints are legal, assuming law enforcement follows the proper steps to set them up and run them. According to the 1990 Supreme Court case Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, DUI checkpoints are not enough of a hindrance to drivers to violate their Fourth Amendment rights to avoid unreasonable search and seizure and provide a way to improve the safety of roads across the country.
An illegal DUI checkpoint meets one or more of the following criteria:
- The checkpoint doesn’t have sufficient warning that they have set it up.
- The checkpoint doesn’t have a stop sign within 50 feet of the stop.
- The officer at the checkpoint asks more than superficial questions about what you’ve been doing and where you’re going.
- The officer asks you to pull over even though there isn’t probable cause that you’ve committed a crime.
If you believe you encountered an illegal DUI checkpoint, you can contact the De Castroverde Law Group to talk to an experienced DUI checkpoint attorney about your experience and whether you’re entitled to a case.
How Can I Prepare for a DUI Checkpoint?
The best ways to prepare for a DUI checkpoint include ensuring your license, registration, and insurance are ready to share with the officer and being ready to answer questions the officer may ask. Types of questions an officer may ask that are within their rights include:
- “Where are you going this evening?”
- “Where are you driving from?”
- “Have you been drinking?”
Other ways you can prepare for a DUI checkpoint include practicing safe driving and drinking habits. For example, if you go out drinking with your friends, ensure you designate a driver who won’t be drinking so that everyone can get home safely. You can also order a ride-sharing service or taxi to get home safely. Finally, if you’re able to avoid the checkpoint legally, you may drive around them.
At a DUI checkpoint, an officer who suspects you of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can ask you to pull over and take either a field sobriety test (FST) or a blood or urine test. If this occurs, the best thing to do is comply with the test. If you aren’t under the influence, then you can take the test and it should come back negative. However, if you are under the influence, then taking the test and being charged with a DUI can be a shorter process than refusing to be tested at all.
Refusing a test from a police officer is an example of noncompliance. Noncompliance in Nevada is refusing a lawful order from a police officer. Doing so can increase the amount of any fines you owe, the time you spend in jail, and the duration of time before you receive your driver’s license and can drive again.
What Are My Rights if I Run Into a DUI Checkpoint?
U.S. and Nevada law entitles you to certain rights if you find yourself stopped at a DUI checkpoint. One of the most important rights is that you don’t have to answer officer questions. This can be helpful if you are driving after drinking or doing drugs. For example, if an officer asks about where you’ve been and the most recent location is a bar, you can politely tell the officer you don’t wish to say. While this may bring you additional scrutiny from the officer, they can’t ask more questions unless they suspect you are driving under the influence.
If you believe an officer violated your rights at a DUI checkpoint, the De Castroverde Law Group is ready to help you win your case.
What Happens if I Don’t Stop at a DUI Checkpoint?
In Nevada, failing to stop at a DUI checkpoint can earn you a gross misdemeanor charge and up to one year in jail. If you cause an injury, the crime becomes a felony and you may spend up to six years in prison. Failure to follow the orders of a police officer to stop can also add to either of these sentences. In a case, a court considers these actions as part of resisting and obstructing the investigation of a police officer, which can create more problems for you than if they find you are driving under the influence.
The best action you can take at a DUI checkpoint is to stop and follow the directions of the police officer.
Contact De Castroverde Law Group Today for Legal Help With DUI Checkpoints
The De Castroverde Law Group is prepared to help you with your legal needs. We have a team of experienced attorneys who can help you if you think you’ve been through an illegal DUI checkpoint. We can also aid you in your case against a DUI allegation. To learn more about our team, you can contact us on our website or call (702) 620-9897 today. Our phone lines are available 24/7 to help you with your legal needs.