IS IT LEGAL FOR AN OFFICER TO PERFORM A DUI CHECKPOINT?
Yes, it is legal in Iowa for a police officer to perform a DUI checkpoint at pretty much any time and location. Although the 4th amendment protects citizens from random searches by law enforcement without reasonable cause, the Supreme Court ruled that there are some exceptions to the amendment. Many courts agree that the need to perform checkpoints to keep the public safe is more important than the inconvenience to drivers. While it is legal for officers to perform these checks, you also have rights that protect you from an unwarranted search of your vehicle.
DO I NEED TO COMPLY WITH A SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT OFFICER?
If for any reason you want to avoid a DUI checkpoint, it is legal to turn to avoid it (granted you don’t commit any traffic violations while turning). You can certainly make a legal U-turn, but this might catch the attention of the officer if you’re close enough to the checkpoint that the officer sees it. So, even if you try to legally avoid it, there’s a chance that the officer might end up following you and pulling you over anyway for suspicious behavior.
When pulling up to a checkpoint, you might wonder if you’re legally required to roll your window down to speak with the officer. You can avoid this by taping a statement (regarding your right to remain silent) up on the inside of your window so the officer can read it when your window is still rolled up. You’ll still need to give the officer your license and registration when they ask, so you can put the necessary items in a bag and hang them from your window. This way, you can provide the officer with the information they’re legally required to acquire while still protecting your right to privacy inside your vehicle.
If you’ve been arrested at a DUI checkpoint and you think the officer violated your rights, you might consider speaking with a trusted criminal defense lawyer with your best interests in mind. Our law firm is here to help! Contact Herting Law PLLC today for an initial consultation with an experienced DUI attorney.