One of the most common situations that gives rise to a DWI charge is when someone drives through a checkpoint. These checkpoints are often operated at specific times and specific locations in order to catch a large number of drivers. If you happen upon a checkpoint and are charged with a DWI, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.
DWI Checkpoints are legal in North Carolina, they must, however, follow very specific rules and regulations as laid out by the General Statutes and the Constitution. Some of the regulations that must be followed by law enforcement in order for the checkpoint to be legal are: first, a plan for the checkpoint that lays out a lawful purpose for the checkpoint; second, the location must be either random or statistically significant to the stated purpose; third, the check must be random; and more. If you come across a DWI or other traffic checkpoint it is important to know the following do’s and don’ts:
What to do at a checkpoint
One of the things that Law Enforcement will be looking for is “bad driving”, therefore, it is important that you maintain a safe speed and the appropriate spacing. You should also obey all commands given to you by law enforcement while you are at the checkpoint.
Stop at the Checkpoint
Another key mistake is trying to blow right through the checkpoint. While other vehicles may not be stopped, if you are requested to stop you should do so.
Produce Requested Documents
While in the checkpoint, officers will likely ask for your license and registration, it is important that you give them these documents and do not argue with them. The least amount of time you can interact with them the better.
Keep note of all the cars that are stopped
Checkpoints are not required to stop every vehicle. They are, however, required to stop vehicles randomly and avoid profiling. Therefore, if you see some cars going through the check point and others stopped, it is important to note if it is random, every car, every fifth car, etc.
What NOT to do at a checkpoint.
Do not try to avoid the checkpoint
One common mistake that people often make when interacting with a checkpoint is to turn around or try and avoid the checkpoint. It is important to know that when planning for a checkpoint, most Law Enforcement Agencies will plan for people trying to avoid the checkpoint and will often stop you anyways.
Do not make any admissions
It is key that you do not make any admissions to the police. When they ask if you have been drinking, if you have any drugs, or any other question, tell the officer that you would like to speak to an attorney and that you do not want to answer any questions. Remember, anything you say can and WILL be used against you.
If you have been stopped at a checkpoint or have been charged with a DWI in North Carolina, call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith TODAY.