August 9, 2023 | DUI
The last thing most people want to see while driving in Lexington is a DUI checkpoint. Even if you are sober, dealing with a safety checkpoint can be a headache. However, understanding your rights at a DUI checkpoint in Lexington, Kentucky, can help you avoid unnecessary delays and legal problems.
What Are the Legal Requirements for a DUI Checkpoint in Lexington, KY?
Since the United States Supreme Court ruled traffic safety checkpoints did not violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights in 1990, many states have used DUI checkpoints to deter drunk driving.
The case that resulted in the ruling was Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz. Since then, federal courts have found checkpoints are legal if they meet specific legal requirements. The courts have discussed some factors that support the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints, including:
- The decisions to set up safety checkpoints should be made by supervisory officers instead of the officers at a patrol level
- The checkpoints should not unreasonably delay motorists
- Neutral procedures should be used to operate the checkpoint, such as stopping every third car instead of randomly stopping vehicles
- Officers staffing the checkpoints must be trained and qualified for their roles
- The checkpoint is clearly identified as a traffic safety checkpoint
- Advance notice is provided to the public, informing people where and when the traffic safety checkpoint will be conducted
The Kentucky Supreme Court added to these requirements in the case of Commonwealth v. Buchanon. The four requirements added for DUI checkpoints were:
- Supervisory officers must make final decisions regarding all matters related to the DUI checkpoint
- Officers must comply with the policies and procedures established by the supervisory officers to ensure all vehicles are treated consistently
- The officers should be in uniform, and the nature of the checkpoint should be apparent
- The checkpoint should not delay motorists for more than a few minutes
If the state or local law enforcement agencies do not follow the requirements for a DUI checkpoint, a Lexington DUI lawyer could use their failure as grounds for a motion to discuss or a motion to suppress evidence. The best way to know if your rights were violated at a Lexington DUI checkpoint or if the checkpoint was legal is to talk with an experienced Lexington DUI attorney.
Can I Turn Around Before a Lexington DUI Checkpoint?
Generally, drivers are allowed to turn before a DUI checkpoint or to turn around and go in the opposite direction. However, your turn must be legal, and you must do so before entering the checkpoint area.
It is important to remember that a police officer can stop you for a traffic violation. Therefore, an officer can pull you over if you make an illegal U-turn or violate any other traffic law.
What Should I Do at a DUI Checkpoint in Lexington, KY?
The best way to handle a DUI checkpoint is to avoid anything that attracts an officer’s attention. However, if you are asked to pull over at a sobriety checkpoint, you must comply with the officer’s instructions. When you pull over, you have the same rights you do at any DUI traffic stop.
You do not have to take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer. You can refuse even if the officer demands that you take these tests. However, you will likely be charged with DUI by refusing to take the tests.
The only information you are required to give is your name, driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. You are not required to answer questions about where you have been or what you have been doing. It is best to keep conversations with police officers to a minimum to avoid saying something incriminating.
Contact a Lexington DUI lawyer to discuss defenses to DUI charges as soon as possible. A DUI ticket is not a conviction. You may have one or more defenses that could result in a dismissal of charges or an acquittal.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI at a Sobriety Checkpoint in Lexington, KY?
The penalties for a DUI conviction are the same regardless of where you were stopped. Therefore, if this is your first DUI conviction, you could be sentenced to 48 hours to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. You may also have a suspended license for 30 to 120 days and have to participate in an Alcohol or Substance Abuse Program for 90 days.The penalties for DUI convictions increase with each subsequent DUI charge. The penalties may also increase if there are aggravating circumstances involved in your DUI case. An attorney can explain the exact DUI penalties you are facing during a free consultation.
Contact the Lexington DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC for Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 W. Vine St. #300
Lexington, KY 40507