Sobriety checkpoints are legal within the state of New Mexico. These checkpoints are used by law enforcement to ensnare inebriated drivers and charge them with DWI. While legal, this tactic must be conducted with respect to the law to make sure drivers are treated fairly.
Thanks to our vast knowledge of criminal law and the Constitutional rights of American citizens, Simon A. Kubiak, Attorneys at Law, PC is here to help. Our team approach makes certain you have access to many effective legal strategies. Our lawyers will also review the details surrounding the sobriety checkpoint and your arrest to make certain they were conducted appropriately.
An Eight-Point Guide to Handling Sobriety Checkpoints
Drive Carefully Through the Checkpoint Zone
Police officers are acutely aware of the mannerisms of inebriated motorists. Don’t give them ammunition by driving erratically or showing confusing when finding a place to stop. Drive slowly and steadily to a safe spot and stop your vehicle there.
- Stay in the Vehicle & Don’t Make Sudden Movements
Wait for the officer to approach your vehicle. Don’t get out of the vehicle unless asked to, and refrain from making sudden movements while the officer is speaking with you. It’s best to keep your hands on the steering wheel where they can be seen easily.
- Be Civil & Respectful
Being rude or copping an attitude with the police officer will get you nowhere. Your behavior will be recorded on the dash cam and if you’re combative it’s likely that penalties will increase, and you’ll have a harder time making your case. Be polite and civil at all times, even if the same respect is not returned to you.
- Don’t Lie, But Be Careful About What You Say
Always be honest with law enforcement. If you lie, you’re likely to be found out and lying will probably make the situation much worse. However, you’re only obligated to provide your name, driver’s license, and insurance card. Other information, even seemingly harmless info like where you’re going, could be used to incriminate you.
- Refuse Field Sobriety Tests
While common, field sobriety tests aren’t always accurate indicators of sobriety. In some cases, sober people fail these tests due to medical conditions or other issues. When refusing a field sobriety test, do so politely. Remember, you’re on camera.
- Refuse Breathalyzers
Similarly, breathalyzer tests can also produce false positive readings. However, keep in mind that implied consent laws will result in a suspended license for a year if you’re convicted.
- Refuse Blood & Other Tests
If you’re arrested at the sobriety checkpoint, you may be asked to submit a blood sample at the station. You may also be asked to submit a breath test using an onsite device. These tests are a means to compile evidence against you. It’s within your rights to refuse testing if you believe it’s in your best interest.
- Take Notes After You’re Released
The more info you provide your attorney, the better your defense. Including things like where you were going, where you were coming from, what you said to the officer, whether you drank, whether you used drugs prior to driving, what the officer said to you, how he behaved, whether you were read your Miranda rights, and any other crucial information you can remember will help your legal strategy.
- Make Sure Your Rights Are Protected
If you’re charged with a DWI after a sobriety checkpoint in Albuquerque, the next step is to secure skilled legal counsel. Even if you believe your arrest was made in error, a good attorney must be by your side during court proceedings.
Call Simon A. Kubiak, Attorneys at Law, PC today for a free initial consultation. With our help, you can rest assured your rights will be upheld.