If you plan to spend your holidays enjoying nights out on the town, be prepared to come across police who are looking for drunk or otherwise impaired drivers. DUI checkpoints are legal in Maryland and are commonly seen between now and January.
Law enforcement officials must report the locations and operation times of DUI checkpoints. This gives area residents and even visitors to the state time to plan their driving routes if they wish to avoid these stops. Still, when traveling to certain places, they may be impossible to avoid. It’s okay; you should know what to expect should you find yourself waiting to get through.
How DUI checkpoints work
Believe it or not, police do not stop all cars traveling through a DUI checkpoint. Police will randomly pick which cars to inspect. They will also look for signs of impairment and pull over drivers exhibiting these signs. Officers do not necessarily need probable cause to stop a person at one of these checkpoints.
If stopped, stay calm and prepare yourself to participate in or refuse sobriety testing. At this point, yes, you have a choice in the matter. If you refuse or fail sobriety testing, you may:
- Be arrested
- Be charged with DUI
- Be forced to submit to sobriety testing at the police station
- Spend time behind bars
- Have your license suspended, even if only temporarily
Every case is different, but authorities, in general, do not treat DUI cases lightly. It is best to prepare yourself for what may come if a DUI checkpoint inspection does not go your way.
What to do if arrested
If you find yourself in police custody after trying to go through a DUI checkpoint, it does not mean a DUI conviction is in your future. Sobriety testing is far from accurate, and the police officers at these checkpoints are often overzealous in their duties. Thankfully, you have the right to defend yourself. This, of course, you do not have to do alone.
With the right help in your corner, you can take steps to fight the DUI charges filed against you or seek alternative sentencing options. You can also address the administrative consequences that accompany such charges. At the end of the day, you get to choose how you want to approach the situation; legal counsel can help determine a course of action that will best benefit your situation.