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Are Sobriety Checkpoints Legal?

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In New York, cops can set up sobriety checkpoints if they want to try and catch drunk drivers. They just have to follow some rules. If you go through a checkpoint and get charged with a DUI, you need to take that charge seriously. A Queens DUI lawyer can help you figure out what to do next.

How Can Sobriety Checkpoints Operate Legally?

Sobriety checkpoints can operate legally if the cops follow a few rules. They must:

  • Use a predetermined random pattern to figure out who should be stopped
  • Stop drivers for only a reasonable amount of time
  • Set up safety precautions, like lights and traffic cones
  • Give warning of the checkpoint’s existence

If they do all of these things, they can set up a checkpoint and look for drunk drivers. If they are found to be in violation of any of these rules, an attorney may be able to argue that the cops did not perform a proper stop and that evidence gained during said stop should be thrown out.

Can You Avoid Sobriety Checkpoints?

When you see a checkpoint in the distance, can you change your route and go another way? You can. Whether you are just tired or you do not feel like dealing with the police for whatever reason, you are within your rights to pick a different way to drive home.

However, if you are close enough to the police when you decide to change your route, they might see that as probable cause and stop you. This is especially likely if you make an illegal maneuver, like making a u-turn or k-turn in the middle of the street.

What Are My Rights at Checkpoints?

At sobriety checkpoints, you must hand over your license and registration when asked. What you do not need to do is allow the police to search you or your vehicle without consent or probable cause. These checkpoints can be set up, but cops still must respect the rights of motorists. If they are searching cars and stomping on the rights of anyone coming through their roadblock, that is not the intended purpose of sobriety checkpoints.

What Should I Do If I Am Charged With a DUI?

If you do get charged with a DUI, you should contact our law firm right away. One of our lawyers can take a look at your case and figure out if your rights were violated and what the best possible defensive strategy might be. The stakes are high and the penalties for even a first-time offense can be quite harsh. You’ll want an experienced attorney on your side.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

If you are facing DUI charges or any other kind of traffic violation, Vasiliou Law may be able to help. Contact our law firm and ask about our free consultations. We can help you learn more about your legal options.

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