Throughout the state of Alabama, safety checkpoints are used to stop drivers randomly and to catch alleged drunk drivers. Police Departments have announced there will be an increase in checkpoints throughout May, which could result in violations ranging from failure to wear a seat belt to DUI. From Memorial Day through the summer, drivers should be wary about these checkpoints and the increased potential for a DUI arrest.
In the event of a checkpoint arrest, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Our Birmingham defense lawyersare experienced in the investigation and defense of cases involving “safety checkpoints.” We will review the evidence your case, determine whether the stop was correctly performed, and aggressively pursue every available defense opportunity. Any DUI crime can result in serious penalties, including loss of license, jail time, fines and a criminal record. Our priority is to reduce the penalties and charges in your case.
At an Alabama checkpoint, officers will ask you to provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. While most stops will only take 45 seconds per vehicle, any driver who is suspected of drinking and driving could face a long night and long-term consequences of a DUI charge. The process of stopping and searching a driver at a barricade is intended to catch individuals who break traffic laws or who are under the influence. An officer who suspects that you have been drinking and driving may ask you to step out of the vehicle, perform field sobriety tests or take a breathalyzer. Remember that refusing a breathalyzer means an automatic license suspension.
Police departments assert that checkpoints enhance road safety and reduce drunk driving; however the system has raised criticism for potentially violating 4th Amendment search and seizure rights. Innocent drivers who are stopped at these checkpoints are being searched despite lack of probable cause. While the stops are generally held to be legal, law enforcement must follow strict guidelines. If officers do not comply with the rules, an experienced attorney can suppress the evidence, or prevent any evidence collected against you from being used in court.
Officers who stop you at a checkpoint cannot act arbitrarily. This means that all cars should be stopped in a consistent manner, and that Alabama police departments must apply universal guidelines to streamline who is being stopped. Failure to apply an across the board measure in an unbiased way could make the safety checkpoint illegal. Since DUI accidents are a high risk during the month of May, drivers in Birmingham and throughout the state can expect an increased number of checkpoints. If you are stopped at a checkpoint, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can review your case and identify any issues. Charges and conviction may be avoidable if law enforcement officials failed to follow rules and guidelines during the stop.