If you drive under the influence of alcohol, you may expect to see flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. After all, patrol officers typically receive training on spotting possible drunk drivers. These officers stop those they suspect may be driving under the influence.
While roadside stops are a common DUI enforcement tool, officers in Maryland may also set up sobriety checkpoints. At these checkpoints, officers stop a random sample of passing motorists to check for intoxication. Provided they meet certain requirements, DUI checkpoints are legal in the Old Line State.
Requirements for a legal checkpoint
In Marlyand, sobriety checkpoints cannot be arbitrary. That is, officers may not set them up on a whim wherever they fancy. To comply with legal requirements, a DUI checkpoint must have the following features:
- A predetermined and standard pattern for stopping drivers
- Advance notice to the public
- Road signs alerting approaching motorists to the checkpoint
- A turnaround for motorists who do not want to proceed through the checkpoint
Strategies for passing through a checkpoint
If you are approaching a DUI checkpoint, it is important to follow all traffic rules. When you arrive at the checkpoint, comply with officer instructions. Be careful not to volunteer information or say too much, though, as you do not want to incriminate yourself. Remember, you do not have to help officers develop a DUI case against you.
Officers may make mistakes when setting up a DUI checkpoint. Ultimately, if you are facing charges following an arrest at one, it may make sense to investigate whether officers followed all the requirements for making the checkpoint legally valid.