DUI Checkpoints on New Year’s Eve: Know Your Rights

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

New Mexico DUI Attorneys Fighting for Your Rights

DUI CheckpointsNew Year’s Eve is all about staying up late, celebrating with friends and family, and possibly having a drink or two. What you may not be prepared for, however, are the DUI checkpoints that will certainly be stationed throughout New Mexico.

Drinking and driving is against the law. To catch those who choose to drink and drive, law enforcement sets up DUI checkpoints on major holidays. These sobriety checkpoints are roadblocks established on main roads to catch drunk drivers. If you are driving this New Year’s Eve, it is important that you understand your rights – and how a DUI checkpoint could lead to an arrest.

DUI checkpoints are not there to arrest just anyone. Instead, law enforcement uses them to ensure people who are drinking and driving are caught. Those who aren’t, are not arrested. However, the issue of these checkpoints is whether they constitute reasonable cause for search and seizure. In a 1990 decision, the Supreme Court decided that checkpoints are legal and they are a valid method for law enforcement to identify drunken drivers.

Your Fourth Amendment Rights

In the United States Constitution, there is the Fourth Amendment. This stipulates that individuals have the right of protection from unreasonable searches and seizures of their personal property. These searches will often require a warrant unless the officer has probable cause to search without one.

A search with probable cause means that officers believe it is necessary to search your vehicle. The search is often after an arrest. Therefore, if you were stopped at a DUI checkpoint and officers arrest you for drunken driving, they may also have probable cause to search your vehicle.

Is a DUI Checkpoint Sufficient Probable Cause?

DUI checkpoints are interesting issues for criminal court judges. After all, the driver is stopped without probable cause, then they are halted and not allowed to leave until the officer allows it. At first, one may think that officers do not have sufficient probable cause to arrest someone, let alone search their vehicle at a checkpoint.

However, the Supreme Court has ruled that field sobriety tests more than constitute probable cause for search and seizure of the vehicle. Therefore, if you fail the field sobriety tests, then the court would accept evidence collected from your vehicle after the fact.

Hire a DUI Attorney for Your New Year’s Eve Stop

Whether you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint or you were stopped elsewhere, you still have rights. A DUI can ruin your career, personal life, and even take away your freedoms. To avoid this, you must hire a DUI attorney immediately.

Contact the team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to explore your options. Schedule your free case evaluation now at 505-375-4672 or request more information online.