If an officer pulls you over and discovers you are under the influence of alcohol, you may find yourself facing criminal charges. However, what happens if the police have set up a DUI roadblock that forces you to come into contact with an officer while stopped?
Under Kentucky law, the police can set up DUI checkpoints to catch under-the-influence drivers as long as the court deems the location and action of the officers reasonable.
What makes a DUI checkpoint legal?
A police officer cannot pull you over without a reasonable belief that you committed a crime. So how is a DUI checkpoint legal? If the police set up checkpoints to deter drunk drivers, the court may deem it a reasonable act to keep the public safe. As long as the police set up roadblocks during high-risk times and in areas where drunk driving is more likely to occur, the court supports the constitutionality of checkpoints.
Do DUI charges from a checkpoint always stick?
DUI charges do not always stand, even during a traffic stop, so the same applies to a checkpoint. Officers must conduct themselves in a very specific way during a DUI investigation. They need to believe you are under the influence, the initial evidence of which they gather during their initial interaction with you, such as:
- Smelling your breath during the conversation
- Listening to whether you slur your words
- Observing the visible contents of your vehicle and the way you behave
If an officer believes from this that you may have consumed alcohol, the investigation moves into the physical roadside tests, including a breath test.
You always have the right to fight DUI charges, even those you receive at a DUI checkpoint. While the law says the stop itself is legal, you always have options to defend yourself against any DUI charge.